On October 7, 2014, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced the conclusion of its first investigation and enforcement action under Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) since coming into force on July 1, 2014.

A computer reseller based in Saskatchewan was placed under investigation by the CRTC after large numbers of complaints were made through the Spam Reporting Centre. The CRTC revealed that a server owned by the computer reseller sent millions of e-mail spam messages through Saskatchewan-based internet service provider, Access Communications.

After the CRTC alerted Access Communications and the owner of the offending server, the parties discovered that malware had infected the server and caused it to send millions of messages unbeknownst to its owner. The CRTC, Access Communications and the computer reseller worked together to halt the server from sending additional spam and brought the business into compliance with CASL. Exercising its discretion, the CRTC chose not to fine the business.

Since July 1, 2014, over 120,000 complaints have been filed through the Spam Reporting Centre. In announcing the completion of its first enforcement, the CRTC simultaneously announced that a number of investigations are currently underway under CASL. We expect to see the pace of enforcement actions pick-up as the volume of complaints grows.

Arnold Fridhandler