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What are the consequences of failing to comply with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation?

Substantial fines. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has imposed significant penalties on businesses for failing to comply with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). The CRTC’s “enforcement approach” aims “to deter others who may be tempted to violate the law, so they understand what is required to comply and what the consequences are if they fail.” Last year, for example, Compu.Finder, a Quebec based company, was fined $1,100,000 for violating CASL. More recently, Kellogg Canada Inc. agreed to pay a $60,000 penalty to resolve an alleged violation of CASL. In late 2014, Kellogg, or a third party marketing company acting on Kellogg’s behalf, sent electronic messages without receiving the consent of the recipients. Section 6 of CASL prohibits businesses from sending commercial electronic messages without receiving the consent of the recipient. The law imposes additional restrictions and requirements on using email for commercial purposes. Businesses should have a written policy on using electronic messages and ensure their employees are properly trained and supervised. When using third party marketers, businesses and non-profits should seek legal advice to insulate themselves from potential financial consequences and take steps to ensure that the parties acting on their behalf comply with CASL. Similarly, charities using third party fundraisers should limit their exposure and ensure that their partners are complying with the law.