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CASL should be repealed or significantly amended.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.