Simon Says

Bringing clarity to the inner workings of our legal system

CASL complaints after the first month

As I previously wrote about on this blog, by July 4, 2014 (3 days after Canada’s new anti-spam legislation – CASL – came into force) the CRTC had received over 1000 complaints about unwanted “spam” and by July 9 (8 days after CASL came into force) that number had climbed to over 12,000!

The latest reports indicate that by the end of the first month after CASL came into force, the CTRC had received a whopping 47,544 complaints!

That means there are 47,544 opportunities for the CRTC to go after Canadian businesses with fines of up to $1M for individuals or up to $10M for corporations – and remember, CASL covers much more than we traditionally think of as spam about unwanted medications to enhance our virility.  Spam, or “Commercial Electronic Messages”, under CASL includes legitimate emails from legitimate Canadian businesses that have as their purpose (or one of their purposes) to encourage participation in commercial activity.

So if you are sending out a company newsletter letting potential clients know about your latest product or service, you’re sending “spam” and exposing yourself to massive liability.

CASL even applies to one-off emails that encourage participation in commercial activity.  So if send a single email to a company or an individual about a potential business opportunity, you may well have sent them “spam”.

Now that’s not to say that sending such messages is completely forbidding by CASL – it’s not, but CASL does require anyone sending a Commercial Electronic Message to include certain disclosure information in the message to identify the sender and to provide an unsubscribe function (or equivalent) in the message – even if it’s a one-off email. CASL also requires that you have express consent to send the message or that you fall into one of the myriad categories where consent can be implied.