Porter Airlines Inc. fined $150,000 for violating Canada’s anti-spam law

Porter Airlines Fined for Violating Canada's Anti Spam Law

It was announced yesterday by The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) that Porter Airlines Inc. has agreed to pay $150,000 as a result of alleged violations against Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL).

According to a news release issued by the Government of Canada, “Porter Airlines failed to comply with various requirements of the law between July 2014 and April 2015. The company allegedly sent some commercial emails that did not contain an unsubscribe mechanism. In other instances, it is alleged this mechanism was not clearly or prominently set out. Certain emails also allegedly did not provide the complete contact information as required by the law. Porter Airlines also allegedly failed to honour, within 10 business days, requests from some recipients to unsubscribe from receiving future commercial emails.”

In addition, Porter Airlines was allegedly unable to provide proof that it had obtained consent for each electronic address that received its commercial emails. This is an issue that the CRTC has indicated is something they will be focusing on in future investigations.

As part of an undertaking for alleged violations of Canada’s anti-spam legislation, Porter Airlines Inc. has agreed to pay $150,000 and will improve its existing compliance program to ensure that its activities going forward are fully compliant.

This news comes only days before the 1-year anniversary of CASL which came into law on July 1, 2014. While many marketers were afraid of CASL’s fines, the CRTC has only issued a little over 1.1 million in fines for violations like: sending unsolicited communications and complicated unsubscribes. The Competition Bureau, while enforcing false advertising laws, also applied a CASL penalty for advertisements sent via email.

According to Matt Vernhout, Chief Privacy Officer at Inbox Marketer, “The enforcement team from the CRTC has been busy and have received over 310,000 consumer complaints since July 1, 2014”. That said, the government has been true to their word that they are not aggressively looking to penalize legitimate marketers but rather dealing with bigger violators.

From our perspective at Inbox Marketer, the last year has been business as usual. Our clients obtain consent and follow best practices. Canadian deliverability rates remain unchanged. However, email marketers still need to be vigilant. Review your list hygiene processes and permission tracking to ensure you are compliant and be sure to conduct an annual CASL audit.

Want to learn more about CASL? Download our latest whitepaper, “The Marketing Landscape since CASL: One Year Later” for free!