While the thought of receiving uninvited emails from a cereal company may not chill your blood in the same way the uninvited phone calls to Carol Kane did in 1979’s cult classic When a Stranger Calls, it’s no laughing matter for Kellogg. In response to allegations from the CRTC that Kellogg sent unsolicited commercial electronic messages (CEMs) without recipients’ consent for over two months in 2014, Kellogg entered into a voluntary undertaking with the CRTC to pay a $60,000 fine and ensure that it (as well as its third party email marketers) complied with Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) going forward. By providing a voluntary undertaking to the CRTC, Kellogg avoided the risk of an administrative monetary penalty of up to $10 million per violation.
As this case demonstrates that CASL requirements can extend to third parties acting on behalf of a corporation, it is important to ensure that companies have CASL Compliance Programs in place that incorporate third party service providers. As well, as mentioned in our July 2016 Bulletin, recent CRTC Guidance confirms that in addition to obtaining the appropriate consent, it is important to maintain proper records or proof of consent once obtained. Finally, as there will be a private right of action for any person affected by a CASL contravention as of July 1, 2017, it is vital that corporations ensure their CASL Compliance Programs are up to speed.