Who will be administering CASL? There are three government bodies that are responsible for administering and enforcing the Act. They are:
The three agencies have entered into an agreement to work together by consulting with one another, sharing information and engaging in joint or parallel enforcement where appropriate. However, the primary responsibility for CASL rests with the CRTC.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
The CRTC is Canada’s broadcasting and telecommunications regulator and the primary enforcement agency for CASL. It will have the power to investigate, take action against and levy fines for:
- sending non-compliant commercial electronic messages;
- altering transmission data without prior consent; for example, directing an Internet user from being directed to another site; and
- installing computer programs on a computer system or network without express consent; for example, malware, spyware and viruses.
From time to time, the CRTC will send out Information Bulletins to assist individuals and organizations to comply with CASL. To date, it has released two Information Bulletins, 2012-548 and 2012-549. The Bulletins are guidelines only, but provide some clarification of the requirements under CASL and its Regulations. To keep up to date you can subscribe to the CRTC’s mailing list to receive new releases.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner protects the personal information of Canadians. It has new powers under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) to monitor the collection of personal information through access to computer systems and to regulate electronic address harvesting. An example of address harvesting is the compilation of bulk email lists through the use of computer programs that automatically mine the Internet for addresses. Many registered charities and not-for-profits may have already obtained consents from their donors, members, subscribers, volunteers and others under PIPEDA, but these consents are not sufficient to meet the requirements of CASL. For example, under CASL, organizations must specifically notify the recipient of a CEM that they can withdraw consent at any time.
The Competition Bureau
The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency, created by the federal Competition Act. Under CASL, it will monitor false and misleading online representations, advertising and marketing practices. It will have the power to both to order administrative fines for violations of CASL and to pursue criminal charges under the Criminal Code of Canada.
After CASL comes into force on July 1, 2014 organizations and individuals will be able to report messages sent without consent and/or commercial electronic messages containing false or misleading content to the Spam Reporting Centre (SRC). The Spam Reporting Centre can be found at www.fightspam.gc.ca.
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This page was last updated in June, 2014.