Key CASL Provisions Come Into Force July 1, 2017

Canada’s Anti-spam Legislation (CASL), which regulates the sending of commercial electronic messages (CEMs) and requires entities that distribute them to obtain prior consent, came into force on July 1, 2014. While many aspects of CASL have been in effect for years, key provisions—including the private right of action (PRA)—will be imposed beginning July 1, 2017.

Essentially, PRA allows individuals and enterprises to file a lawsuit in court if they feel they have been affected by a violation of CASL. PRA also opens the door for anti-spam class action lawsuits, with maximum damages capped at $1 million per day. PRA violations can be costly for organizations, and monetary penalties can occur if a business does any of the following:

  1. Sends CEMs that violate CASL ($200 per breach and up to a maximum of $1 million for each day noncompliant conduct occurred)
  2. Alters the transmission data of a CEM (a maximum of $1 million for each day noncompliant conduct occurred)
  3. Installs apps or other computer programs that violate CASL (a maximum of $1 million for each day noncompliant conduct occurred)
  4. Scraps, generates or accesses electronic addresses in violation of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) (a maximum of $1 million for each day noncompliant conduct occurred)
  5. Sends CEMs with false or misleading information ($200 per breach and up to a maximum of $1 million for each day noncompliant conduct occurred)

Moreover, beginning July 1, 2017, transitional implied consent expires, and organizations will need to obtain express or implied consent prior to sending CEMs. Failing to do so could leave businesses exposed to significant monetary penalties under PRA. In order to prepare for PRA and the end of transitional provisions, organizations are encouraged to review their compliance programs.

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