On June 29, 2015, the CRTC announced that Porter Airlines Inc
had agreed to pay $150,000 as part of an undertaking in respect of
alleged violations of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL).
CASL requires consent to send commercial electronic messages to
an electronic address unless an exemption applies. CASL also
requires commercial electronic messages to clearly or prominently
provide an unsubscribe mechanism and also to comply with other very
specific informational formalities.
In this case it was alleged that Porter Airlines had sent some
commercial electronic messages between July 2014 (CASL came into
force July 1, 2014) and April 2015 that were not compliant with
CASL. Specifically, the CRTC has alleged that some of the emails
did not contain an unsubscribe mechanism and, in other cases, the
CRTC alleged that the unsubscribe mechanism was not clearly or
prominently set out. It was alleged that some of the emails also
did not have the specific prescribed information required by CASL.
The CRTC also alleged that Porter Airlines did not honour
unsubscribe requests, in some cases, within 10 business days.
When challenged to prove it had consent to send some commercial
electronic messages between July 2014 and April 2015 the CRTC
reported that Porter Airlines was unable to provide proof as to
those consents from each applicable electronic address.
CASL provides a mechanism under which a respondent may give an
undertaking to the CRTC. Porter Airlines utilized that procedure
and as part of its undertaking is reported to be committed to
ensure its going forward communications are compliant with CASL. It
is reported that Porter Airlines cooperated with the CRTC and
promptly took remedial action to address compliance. Porter
Airlines will increase training and education for staff and improve
its compliance policies and procedures.
This prosecution shows that the CRTC is targeting technical and
other violations under CASL. The prosecution also shows the
importance of both the establishment of due diligence as a defense
and the importance of being able to provide evidence of consents
(or that an exemption applies) to send electronic commercial
communications to each account.
The case is a reminder for all organizations that send
commercial electronic messages to review their practises, policies
and procedures so as best to seek to establish a due diligence
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