How tough is CASL?

"Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is one of the toughest laws of its kind in the world."— Deloitte

CASL is invasive, pervasive and unavoidable. It creates a significate regulatory and legal liability for every email sent to a Canadian recipient, irrespective of country of origin.

The CRTC is exhibiting a no-prisoners approach in enforcing CASL.

In 2017, private right to action and class action suits will open up an entirely new front of risks and costs for businesses
sending emails in Canada.

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How severe are the consequences?

The regulatory consequences (imposed by the CRTC) for failure to comply are severe:

  • Up to $1,000,000 per violation per individual
  • Up to $10,000,000 per violation per company

As of July 1st, 2017 every breach of CASL will create a private right of action, giving the recipient the right to sue the sender:

  • Class action litigation is supported
  • Damages are assumed
  • Plaintiff-side class action lawyers are eagerly awaiting July 1st, 2017
  • Suits can include damages as well as expenses and may range from $200 per email per person and up to $1,000,000 for each day of contravention

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Why is compliance so difficult?

For all commercial email activities, you must:

  • Ensure any email sent from multiple facilities/divisions and/or multiple user/contact databases around the globe are centrally co-ordinated for consent tracking, unsubscribing and corporate identification.
  • Ensure all corporate emails sent from any device (smart phones, laptops, tablets, desktops, public computers) and any operating system by all users are co-ordinated globally for consent tracking, unsubscribing and corporate identification.
  • Manage the resulting whitelisted databases in realtime with constantly changing email addresses, phone numbers, names, physical addresses.

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Costs & Risks

CASL creates significant new issues for Legal, Compliance and Risk as well as all officers and directors. Costs include:

  • Internal resources assigned to manually maintain, track and update consents and unsubscribes (still leaving
    significant gaps in compliance)
  • Potential fine with additional costs over and above actual cost of fine, including:
    • Legal, eDiscovery and management costs responding to fine
    • Cost of corrective action/compliance and follow-up with the regulator
    • Loss of reputation/reputational risk: the shame game
  • Class action litigation:
    • In 2017, private right to action and class action suits will open up an entirely new front of risks and costs for businesses sending emails in Canada.

< PreviousThe Solution >>

Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is a federal statute that is applicable to all businesses in Canada. It is intended to regulate all "commercial electronic messages" (emails) and applies to all commercial emails received or sent in Canada including:

Not only spam; covers all commercial email.

Has already been applied by CRTC to fine Canadian businesses.

In 2017, email recipients will be able to sue individually and/or via class action lawsuits on a per email basis.