Blackstone CASL Enforcement Decision – Sending CEM Without Consent

On October 26, 2016, the Canadian Radio-television and Tele-communications Commission issued a Compliance and Enforcement Decision finding that Blackstone Learning Corp. violated Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) by sending commercial electronic messages (CEM) without consent and imposing a $50,000 penalty.

The Compliance and Enforcement Decision against Blackstone Learning Corp. related to nine email campaigns between 9 July and 18 September 2014, involving the sending of 385,668 CEM to employees at 25 Canadian federal and provincial government organizations. The email campaigns resulted in at least 60 complaints to CRTC’s Spam Reporting Centre. CRTC commenced an investigation. Blackstone refused to cooperate with the investigator or comply with a CRTC order to produce financial statements to the investigator.

After the investigation, the investigator issued a notice of violation asserting reasonable grounds to believe that Blackstone had violated CASL by sending CEMs without consent, and imposing an administrative monetary penalty of $640,000. In accordance with the procedure set out in CASL, Blackstone challenged the notice of violation by making representations to CRTC. Blackstone argued that it had not violated CASL’s CEM rules because it had implied consent to send the emails and that, in any event, the administrative monetary penalty was unreasonably high. CRTC rejected Blackstone’s argument that it had implied consent to send the promotional emails, but agreed with Blackstone that the administrative monetary penalty was too high.

To read the recent BLG bulletin on this topic, click here.

This content has been updated on October 31, 2016 at 22 h 34 min.