CRTC dismisses constitutional challenge by recipient of the first CASL fine


Canada’s telecom regulator has thrown out a challenge disputing the constitutionality of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) that has dragged on over two years.

The dispute has its roots in the first instance of Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) imposing a financial penalty on a company under the anti-spam law. In March 2015, corporate training company CompuFinder received a $1.1 million CAD fine for “flagrantly” flouting CASL.

The Quebec-based company accounted for more than one-quarter of the spam complaints received that were related to training companies at the time. A CBC report also noted that blog posts dating as early as 2008 showed efforts to stop undesired communications from the company.

“They have not made any effort to change their business practices … People were unsubscribing and they were still getting emails, and some even made additional efforts to contact the company to say, ‘I unsubscribed, I’m still receiving emails,’ and despite those additional efforts they were still getting emails,” the CRTC’s chief compliance and enforcement officer Manon Bombardier told the CBC.

Shortly after receiving the fine, CompuFinder raised a constitutional challenge to CASL on various grounds. Among other things, the company argued that CASL contravened the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by infringing on its freedom of expression and by letting the CRTC to impose penal sanctions without the necessary procedural safeguards.

After an extended period of submissions and responses, the CRTC has now decided that CompuFinder’s various arguments don’t hold merit.

“Accordingly,” reads the decision, “CompuFinder’s constitutional challenge of CASL has not succeeded.”

Thus ends the prolonged battle waged over the first major CASL fine.

Source: CRTC