On March 5, 2015, the Canadian Radio-television and
Tele-communications Commission ("CRTC")
issued the first Notice of Violation under Canada's anti-spam
law (commonly known as "CASL"). The
Notice, which imposes a $1.1 million administrative penalty, was
issued to Compu-Finder for sending commercial electronic messages
("CEMs") without the recipients'
consent and with an ineffective unsubscribe mechanism.
CASL creates a comprehensive regime of offences, enforcement
mechanisms and potentially severe penalties designed to prohibit
unsolicited or misleading CEMs, the unauthorized commercial
installation and use of computer programs on another person's
computer system and other forms of online fraud.
For most organizations, the key parts of CASL are the rules for
CEMs. Subject to limited exceptions, CASL prohibits the sending of
a CEM unless the recipient has given informed consent (express or
implied in limited circumstances) to receive the CEM and the CEM
complies with prescribed formalities (including an effective and
promptly implemented unsubscribe mechanism) and is not
Violation of CASL's CEM rules can result in administrative
penalties (up to $1 million per violation for individuals and up to
$10 million per violation for organizations), civil liability
through a private right of action (commencing July 1, 2017) and
vicarious liability on employers, directors and officers. CASL
gives the CRTC regulatory and enforcement authority regarding CEMs
and other matters.
Compu-Finder Notice Of Violation
The Notice of Violation issued to Compu-Finder relates to four
violations of CASL, between July 2 and September 16, 2014,
involving emails promoting Compu-Finder's business-related
training courses. The CRTC explained that Compu-Finder sent emails
without the recipients' consent and emails that included an
ineffective unsubscribe mechanism. According to the CRTC,
Compu-Finder's emails accounted for 26% of all complaints for
the industry sector submitted to the CRTC's Spam Reporting
The CRTC's Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer
explained: "...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. ... By issuing this Notice
of Violation, my goal is to encourage a change of behaviour on the
part of Compu-Finder such that it adapts its business practices to
the modern reality of electronic commerce and the requirements of
the anti- spam law".
CASL's enforcement procedures require Compu-Finder to
pay the penalty, contest the Notice or negotiate an undertaking
(settlement) with the CRTC. If Compu-Finder unsuccessfully contests
the Notice, Compu-Finder may appeal the CRTC's decision to
Canada's Federal Court of Appeal.
The CRTC's news release includes an important warning for
all organizations that send CEMs regulated by CASL: "We take
violations to [sic] the law very seriously and expect
businesses to be in compliance".
Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions or GST.
Under the Income Tax Act, the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Pension Plan Act and the Excise Tax Act, a director of a corporation is jointly and severally liable for a corporation's failure to deduct and remit source deductions.
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