Another hefty penalty under Canada’s “anti-spam” law – Porter Airlines agrees to pay $150,000 for alleged violations

In a news release dated June 29, 2015, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (“CRTC”) announced that Porter Airlines Inc. (“Porter”) agreed to pay $150,000 for alleged violations of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL).  The payment by Porter is part of a larger voluntary undertaking by which Porter will implement a number of corrective measures to ensure compliance with the law.

The voluntary undertaking is the culmination of a CRTC investigation alleging that between July 2014 and April 2015 Porter engaged in a number of violations of the Act.  These alleged violations included:

  • sending commercial e-mails that did not contain an unsubscribe mechanism;
  • sending commercial e-mails that failed to clearly or prominently set out the unsubscribe mechanism;
  • sending commercial e-mails that did not provide complete contact information; and
  • failing to honour within ten business days requests from recipients to unsubscribe from receiving future e-mails.

The CRTC also stated that Porter was unable to provide proof that it had obtained consent for each e-mail address that received its commercial e-mails.

Upon becoming aware of the investigation, Porter cooperated with the CRTC and immediately began taking corrective action.  The voluntary undertaking between Porter and the CRTC involves enhanced training and education for Porter’s employees and improved corporate policies and procedures.

Although CASL has been in place since July 2014, organizations continue to incur significant financial penalties for violations of the Act.  Readers of Focus will recall the $1.1 million penalty issued to Compu-Finder earlier this year for sending commercial e-mails without consent of the recipients (see Canada’s anti-spam legislation has teeth – company fined $1.1 million for “spamming” businesses).

In addition to highlighting the importance of complying with the unsubscribe requirements of the Act, the news release also emphasizes that organizations must be able to provide evidence of obtaining consent to send commercial e-mails to each e-mail address.  Practically, this means that in addition to actually obtaining consent, organizations must have a system in place for storing and retrieving these consents.

Given the significant financial and operational consequences that may flow from non-compliance, organizations that have not already done so should review their e-mailing practices and policies to ensure that they are on-side of the legislation.

For further information please contact Adam Gamwell at 613-940-2736, Carolyn Dunlop at 613-940-2760 or Porter Heffernan at 613-940-2764.

Related Articles

Comment Period Open on Proposed Regulations Regarding Incoming Paid Medical Leave Under the Canada Labour Code

On December 17, 2021, Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code, received Royal Assent. …

Arbitrator Dismisses Union Grievance Regarding Decision Not to Fill Position After Employee’s Retirement

On May 17, 2022, Emond Harnden’s very own Sébastien Huard and Marianne Abou-Hamad successfully represented their client in a grievance…

Arbitrator Upholds University’s Decision to Terminate Financial Officer with Lengthy History of Performance Issues and Workplace Conflict

On May 17, 2022, Arbitrator Kathleen O’Neil released her decision in The Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers’ Federation, Local 35 and…