The penalties under CASL can be quite severe. They include:
- Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) consisting of fines of up to $1million for individuals and up to $10 million for corporations per violation.
- Vicarious liability. This means that corporate directors can be found to be liable for the wrongful acts of a corporation or organization, and the corporation can be found to be liable for the wrongful acts of its employees.
- Private rights of action. This means that after July 1, 2017 individuals can sue another individual or organization for damages after proving actual harm or loss after receiving an unsolicited and unwanted CEM. An individual cannot sue an organization if the CRTC has already taken action against it.
Most of the responsibility for enforcing the Act will be carried out by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, or CRTC. The CRTC is given investigative powers under CASL and may obtain search and seizure orders and ask the courts for injunctions to “cease and desist.” The CRTC will issue a Notice of Violation with the AMP amount indicated. The organization can then challenge the Notice about both the violation and the amount of the AMP.
However, the CRTC has indicated that it intends to educate the public about the Act and will seek opportunities for compliance before imposing substantial penalties.
Due Diligence is a defence to any violations of CASL. Due Diligence is defined as the degree of prudence and carefulness that a reasonable person would take in similar circumstances. It allows a person to prove on a balance of probabilities that he or she exercised reasonable care and was not negligent.
It is very important for directors to realize that they could be found to be personally liable for the acts of their organizations.
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This page was last updated in June, 2014.