The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
(the CRTC) recently issued another notice of violation under
Canada's anti-spam law (CASL), this time against Plentyoffish
Media Inc., a corporation offering dating services to nearly 100
million users, some of which are located in Canada. This notice was
sent in relation to commercial electronic messages (CEMs) sent
between July 1, 2014, and October 8, 2014, that did not contain a
prominent, easy-to-use unsubscribe mechanism.
After being notified of these violations, the corporation
entered into a voluntary undertaking with the CRTC according to
which the corporation agreed: (i) to pay a $48,000 fine; and (ii)
to develop a compliance program that includes staff training and
changes to its policies.
This case is a reminder of the importance of reviewing CEMs
unsubscribe mechanisms to ensure compliance with CASL provisions.
In addition to its power to issue notices of violation, the CRTC
may discuss corrective actions with organizations.
It's worth mentioning that under CASL the conclusion of an
undertaking will limit the private right of action provided to
recipients (alleging they were affected by an act or omission that
constitutes a contravention of any of sections 6 to 9), with such
right set to come into force on July 1, 2017. Indeed, Section 48
provides that the court may not consider an application for an
order to pay damages – other than compensatory damages (i.e.,
damages equal to the actual loss or damage suffered or expenses
incurred by the recipient) – if a corporation has entered
into an undertaking with the CRTC. Hence, the liability of a
corporation may be considerably reduced should it enter into an
However, full compliance remains the best preventive
Follow-up: $1.1-million fine issued against Compu-Finder
As to the notice of violation issued against Compu-Finder that
was discussed in our previous
update, the CRTC confirmed that Compu-Finder did not make
representations to challenge the amount of the penalty or the
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