CASL gets Rogers Media

The CRTC announced yesterday that it bagged another CASL pelt – this time Rogers Media. The company agreed to an undertaking with the CRTC and to pay $200,000 to avoid expensive enforcement proceedings.

Rogers Media allegedly sent commercial emails (CEMs) containing an unsubscribe mechanism that did not function properly or which could not be readily performed by the recipient. In some instances, the electronic address used to unsubscribe was allegedly not valid for the required minimum of 60 days following the sent message. Rogers Media also allegedly failed to honour, within 10 business days, requests from some recipients to unsubscribe from receiving future commercial emails.

Should the public cheer this announcement along with the CRTC? No. CASL is an ill-conceived, indefensible law, that overly restricts commercial speech without justification.  See, Michael Geist’s defense of Canada’s indefensible anti-spam law CASL, and CASL: the unofficial FAQ, regulatory impact statement, and compliance guideline.

CASL has likely cost Canadians millions of dollars in compliance costs and miles of red tape. It is a drag on innovation and hurts the competitiveness of Canadian businesses, which alone among their foreign competitors have to comply with such significant barriers to commercial electronic commerce. It acts as an impediment to foreign investment in Canadian high paying technology jobs and has resulted in Canadian businesses moving IT operations out of the country.

Ultimately, it is also ordinary Canadian consumers who suffer because of CASL. They indirectly have to foot the hefty CASL compliance costs and disproportionate fines exacted by the CRTC. All of these costs get passed on to consumers as higher costs for goods and services. So when you get a price hike on your next purchases of media products from Rogers Media, thank CASL and the CRTC.

CASL should be repealed or significantly amended. Fixing CASL should be at the top of the new Government agenda of inherited laws that need fixing.

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8 thoughts on “CASL gets Rogers Media”

  1. David Collier-Brown says:

    As noted elsewhere, I find CASL trivial to obey (it took about 4-5 man-hours at work) and a valuable public policy initiative.

    We had to add a paragraph to our terms and conditions and issue an SQL command that said “update the ‘must agree to terms’ indicator to true wherever the person is from Canada”

    Feel free to write to me ([email protected]) and ask for details: it’s legitimately harder for non-technical companies than it is for nerds.

  2. I’ve been in countless meetings including, as it happens, one on Friday where businesses expressed how they loath CASL and just how wasteful difficult it is to comply with.

  3. I’m sure companies will not wish to do so, but I also suspect that that their IT departments said something like “What, another program to write? I don’t want to do it, I don’t have any time, we don’t have the budget, it’s really really hard… what was it that it has to do again? Well, that’s *really really hard*.”

    –dave (:-)) c-b

  4. David, it is far more onerous and time consuming. Its not whining for a little effort. Its shrieking because of the insanely stupid and wasteful effort it entails.

  5. David Collier-Brown says:

    Darn, I think we’ll have to disagree: your evidence points in the opposite direction of mine.


  6. David Collier-Brown says:

    I posted a link to your article at Google+ with the description
    ‘To be fair, people strongly disagree re the desirability of CASL, with real, heartfelt concerns at the “insanely stupid and wasteful effort it entails”. (Courtesy of Barry Sookman)’

  7. Pat Liebeck says:

    I believe CASL is a plot on Canada Post’s behalf to force people/businesses back to using direct mail – which is too expensive and garners very little return. A simple unsubscribe button on any email should keep CASL happy.

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