In a news release dated November 20, 2015, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (“CRTC”) announced that Rogers Media Inc. (“Rogers”) paid $200,000 as part of an undertaking to resolve alleged violations of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (“CASL”). The CASL provisions relating to Commercial Electronic Messages (“CEMs”) came into force on July 1st, 2014, and this is not the first hefty payment levied against an organization for alleged violations of its provisions.
Readers of Focus will recall that in June of this year, Porter Airlines agreed to pay $150,000 for its alleged violations of CASL (see Another hefty penalty under Canada’s “anti-spam” law – Porter Airlines agrees to pay $150,000 for alleged violations). The company Compu-Finder was fined $1.1 million in March for its violations (see Canada’s anti-spam legislation has teeth – company fined $1.1 million for “spamming” businesses).
Rogers’ alleged violations included:
- sending CEMs that either contained an unsubscribe mechanism that did not enable the person to indicate their wish to no longer receive messages, or that was not able to be “readily performed”;
- sending CEMs for which the unsubscribe mechanism did not contain an electronic address that was valid for the required minimum of 60 days after the message was sent; and
- failing to give effect to unsubscribe requests within the required 10 business days.
In addition to the payment of $200,000, Rogers agreed to comply with, and ensure any third party authorized to send CEMs on its behalf complies with, the Act and Regulations. Rogers also agreed to update and implement its compliance program by reviewing and revising its written policies, developing training programs, and registering and tracking all complaints related to CEMs and their resolution. Finally, Rogers undertook to confirm the implementation of these measures in writing to the Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer (CCEO) within specified timeframes and to provide a written report of its compliance program annual review, if requested by the CCEO.
Rogers’ undertaking reminds organizations of the severe financial penalties that may flow from non-compliance with CASL – up to $1,000,000 per infraction for individuals, and up to $10,000,000 per infraction for corporations. CASL is administered through a complaints-based system and the CRTC provides a Spam Reporting Centre for the submission of complaints. Organizations that utilize CEMs should review the requirements of the CASL to ensure they are on-side of the legislation.