Porter Airlines agrees to pay $150,000 for alleged violations of CASL

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that airline company Porter Airlines Inc. agreed to pay $150,000 as part of an undertaking for alleged violations of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL). It is reported that once made aware of the investigation by the CRTC, the airline company was cooperative and immediately took corrective actions to comply with the legislation.

The CRTC news release mentions that the company allegedly : (i) sent some electronic commercial emails (CEM) that did not contain an unsubscribe mechanism (so there was no clear or prominent mechanism as per s. of CASL); (ii) sent CEM which did not provide the complete contact information of the company as required by CASL; and (iii) failed to honour, within 10 business days, requests from some recipients to unsubscribe from receiving future CEM. The news release also raises that the company was unable to provide evidence of legally obtained consents for each electronic address that received its CEM. This CASL requirement can be tricky given that most email addresses found in databases used for marketing purposes may have been obtained prior to the coming into force of CASL, so before it was a legal requirement to obtain such evidence of consent.

In order for a CEM sent to qualify for the three year transition period under s. 66 of CASL, under which an organization may continue to rely on implied consent (until July 1, 2017), an organization would have to be able to provide evidence that all of those e-addresses belonging to outside parties to which a CEM is being sent are held in virtue of the following criteria: (i) there was a previous relationship between the organization and the outside party in the past or the outside party made an inquiry to the organization in the past; and (ii) the relationship between the organization and the outside party includes the communication of CEM. Organizations should therefore make an inventory of the type of CEMs that they may send and the electronic addresses which may be contacted in order to determine if they can provide evidence that these email addresses satisfy these criteria, since only such addresses may qualify for the transition period.

This news release mentions that Porter Airlines has undertaken to improve its existing compliance program to ensure compliance with CASL and that such enhanced compliance program will include increased staff training and improved corporate policies and procedures.

This content has been updated on June 29, 2015 at 13 h 33 min.