First Anti-Spam Decision

CanadaFashionLaw previously advised on Canada’s new anti-spam legislation “CASL” (click here).  Within a year of the legislation’s enactment, we have our first decision.  This shows that companies really should pay heed to CASL and ensure that it is in compliance with its provisions.  Below is a summary of the decision against Plentyoffish Media Inc. (“Plenty of Fish”).

Plenty of Fish sent commercial electronic messages to registered users of its online dating service.  The unsubscribe mechanism was not clearly or prominently set out in the e-blasts.  In addition, the unsubscribe mechanism could not be readily performed.  The purpose of the e-blasts was to notify the Plenty of Fish subscribers of all the services that were available.  The violations occurred between July 1, 2014 and October 8, 2014.

Plenty of Fish was hit with a significant fine: $48,000.  In addition, Plenty of Fish was required to undertake that it would develop and implement a program that ensured compliance with the anti-spam legislation.  This included training and education for Plenty of Fish’ staff and the creation of corporate policies and procedures.

If you’d like to know more about Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, feel free to reach out to CanadaFashionLaw at afroese(at)foglers.com

Wham, Bam…Now There’s No Spam

Starting July 1, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”) will come into effect, which could significantly impact your business’ marketing campaign.

CASL regulates how businesses generate business leads via electronic messages. In real talk, it means less unwanted e-mails! A “Commercial Electronic Message” extends to any means of telecommunications (including text, sound, voice or images), whose purpose is to encourage commercial activities. In reality, this extends to e-mails, texts, instant messages, or anything similar. Whether or not this extends to social media messaging is up in the air.

If e-blasts are a part of your marketing strategy, it is necessary for each recipient to expressly opt-in to being spammed. This can either be in writing or orally. The request for express consent must clearly set out:

– the purpose for the consent;
– the specific information being sought about the consenting individual; and
– a statement that the individual can withdraw his/her consent.

If, however, there is an existing business relationship, an existing non-business relationship or voluntary disclosures, the consent is implied. In specific instances, consent is not required.

CASL also regulates what information must be contained in the consented-to electronic message:

– information that identifies the sender;
– information enabling the recipient to contact the sender;
– a mechanism that enables the recipient to unsubscribe.

If your finger is on that trigger and you continue to spam, thereby violating CASL, monetary penalties could follow.

Word of advice: take a look at your marketing strategy and determine whether any of your electronic messages may be covered under CASL. If yes, determine whether consent is implied or needs to be expressly obtained. Finally, create internal policies that ensure that your business continues to comply with the CASL requirements.

If you have any questions on how your company can comply with CASL, feel free to reach out to CanadaFashionLaw directly.

Quebec Court: Canada’s Kinda Bilingual

Previously, CanadaFashionLaw covered retailers’ challenge to the Office Quebecois de la Langue Francaise (basically, the French language police).

The Quebec Superior Court issued their decision last week which put the reins on the French language police.

Public signage and marketing in Quebec is regulated by the Quebec Charter of French Language.  The French Charter requires that signage/commercial advertisements be predominantly in French.  However, there are exceptions when trade-marks are involved.  Generally, where the trade-mark is registered in English, the brand owner is not required to display the French equivalent.  In a recent decision that was issued last week, the Superior Court of Quebec held that a non-French trade-mark does not need to be accompanied with a French descriptor.  However, if the French equivalent is also a registered trade-mark, the brand owner is required to use the French version.

Ultimately, it is a business decision on whether your company wishes to register the French version.  If there are strong ties to the Quebec culture, using the French equivalent will certainly assist in fostering better relations with the Quebecois.  If, however, Quebec is a secondary market, it may streamline your company’s marketing materials by not registering in French as well.