Canada Anti-Spam Law Gets Private Right of Action

Class action lawyers are chomping at the bit with regards to Canada’s anti-spam legislation.

A private right of action comes into force July 1 for the Canadian law. Not only will companies need to worry about government regulators, but now potential class action lawsuits.

CASL regulates all commercial electronic messages sent to Canadian citizens. The largest threat from this type of private right of action would be class action lawsuits. Corporate conduct being regulated does not involve one off communications with customers, but rather email blasts, mass software updates, etc.

Government regulators have had authority to enforce requirements of CASL. They settled a few cases in the past couple years for inadequate consent and issues with the unsubscribe feature including:

  • June 2015: Porter Airlines – $150,000
  • November 2015: Rogers Media – $200,000
  • August 2016: Kellogg Canada – $60,000

However, the government tends to allocate its resources towards more egregious or unique violations when enforcing the law. Private plaintiffs are more plentiful and profit-driven.

As we know, class action lawsuits can pay a few bucks for the class members, and pay big for lawyers. Expect to see some sharks in the water come summertime.

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