CRTC Punishes First Anti-Spam Law Offender

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For the first time since the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) came into effect, the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has issued a Notice of Violation. The CRTC is fining Canadian company Compu-Finder $1.1 million as punishment for sending emails without the recipients’ consent or a properly functioning unsubscribe mechanism.

The CASL has been in effect since July 2014, forbidding marketers from sending commercial electronic messages, installing computer programs, and/or collecting email addresses without obtaining consent from consumers. Making false or misleading representations in electronic emails and collecting personal information without proper authorization is also illegal under this bill. If found breaking this law, individuals can be fined up to $1 million, and businesses can face fines up to $10 million.

The CRTC has been investigating Compu-Finder since last summer, after complaints were submitted to the Commission’s online Spam Reporting Centre. According to the CRTC, “an analysis of the complaints made to the Spam Reporting Centre of this industry sector shows that Compu-Finder accounts for 26% of all complaints submitted.”

Manon Bombardier, Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer for the CRTC, said Compu-Finder “flagrantly violated the basic principles of the law by continuing to send unsolicited commercial electronic messages after the law came into force to email addresses it found by scouring websites.”

Compu-Finder, a corporate training company, has 30 days to either challenge the CRTC’s findings or pay the penalty.