CRTC levies $1.1 million fine for violation of Anti‑spam legislation

March 24th, 2015 by Shelina Ali

Earlier this month, the Canadian Radio‑television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC’s) Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer, issued a hefty penalty of $1.1 million dollars to Compu‑Finder for failing to comply with Canada’s anti‑spam Legislation that came into force in July of 2014 (commonly referred to as CASL).   The penalty was issued with respect to four alleged violations between July 2014 and September 2014.

Compu‑Finder is a Quebec based training company with a long history of sending unsolicited commercial emails. The CRTC reported that complaints about Compu‑Finder accounted for 26% of those submitted that related to training companies.

It was found that Compu‑Finder did not obtain consent from recipients prior to sending commercial electronic messages and that it sent messages without including a functioning unsubscribe option.

The CRTC has provided Compu‑Finder with 30 days to respond to its decision. It has not made the decision itself publicly available.

The penalty levied against Compu‑Finder is a reminder to organizations that the CRTC is taking complaints and compliance with the CASL seriously.

Non‑profit and charitable organizations should consider whether or not the messages they send out fall under the definition of commercial electronic messages.  Under the legislation, commercial electronic messages are defined broadly as a message sent by any means of telecommunication that relates to commercial activity.   A message can be commercial in nature, whether or not there is an expectation of profit.

The Government of Canada has provided a list of three main issues to consider before sending a message:

  1. Did the person you are sending the message to consent?
  2. Is the message commercial in nature?
  3. Does the message include key information required by the legislation, including: the name of the individual sender and the business, the name of anyone else on whose behalf you are sending the message, a current mailing address, and a phone number, email address, or web address (note that this information must be accurate for at least 60 days after sending the message).

For more information on the legislation, the requirements for sending commercial electronic messages and what the types of messages do not require explicit consent, see our previous blog post on this issue and the Government of Canada’s website.

Filed in: Not for Profit Law

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