The CRTC has posted a summary of the discussions that took place in February at a consultation involving representatives of industry, consumer groups and CRTC staff.

The objective of the consultation was to allow the CRTC to gather information regarding issues that businesses and consumer groups foresee when CASL comes into force. The discussions focused on six topics:

  • Means of obtaining “express consent”
  • Proof of consent
  • Section 66 of CASL and the three-year transitional period
  • Obtaining consent to send a commercial electronic message (CEM) – seeking consent for affiliates
  • Prescribed information in a CEM – “on behalf of”
  • Installation of computer programs

While the report does not identify how the CRTC plans to address these topics, it does help to highlight some of the fundamental “open” issues on which businesses require guidance.

More importantly, the CRTC may have signalled that it plans to adopt a more flexible approach to CASL enforcement than what was initially expected following publication of two bulletins last year .

This optimism stems from the report identifying as a “key conclusion” that “[t]here is no one-size-fits all answer that will assist every business in complying with CASL, as context is critical to an appropriate interpretation in the circumstances of each case.” The CRTC also acknowledged that “businesses require assistance in the form of greater clarity on certain provisions of CASL,” and to this end, that participants suggested that the CRTC consider providing “a framework of guiding principles to underpin compliance expectations.”