After being investigated for multiple alleged violations of Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation ("CASL"), a Canadian airline has agreed to pay C$150,000 as part of an undertaking with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (the "CRTC"). The CRTC's investigation into the Canadian airline alleged that it committed multiple violations of CASL, including:
failing to include or clearly set out an unsubscribe mechanism in commercial emails;
- failing to provide its complete contact information in commercial emails;
- failing to honour unsubscribe requests within 10 business days; and
- being unable to provide proof that it had obtained consent for each electronic address that received its commercial emails.
In addition to the payment, the Canadian airline has undertaken to implement an enhanced compliance program that will include increased training and education for staff and improved corporate policies and procedures.
This development is the third reported instance of a payment being made to the CRTC in connection with CASL and illustrates that the CRTC is actively investigating reported violations of CASL, including requirements related to the clarity of unsubscribe mechanisms and the length of time it takes for organizations to honour unsubscribe requests. Parties found to have contravened CASL could be subject to administrative monetary penalties of C$10 million per violation and, starting on 1 July 2017, may be exposed to class actions in which courts may impose statutory damages of C$1 million per day on which a contravention occurred, in addition to compensatory damages.
The potential for severe penalties coupled with the CRTC's active enforcement of CASL indicates that it is imperative for businesses to take steps to ensure their compliance with CASL, including implementing comprehensive policies and training programs that address all of CASL's various requirements, maintaining complete and accurate records of required consents, and promptly addressing any reports of non-compliance.