CASL should not be taken lightly as, in addition to the broad application of the Act, there are considerable penalties for violations of its provisions. If you are a corporation, the CRTC will have the authority to impose administrative monetary penalties, for violations of CASL, of up to $10 million per violation. A unique aspect of CASL is that businesses and consumers are also provided with the power to bring a civil suit and seek damages if the CRTC, the Competition Bureau, or the Commissioner have not done so. If you are an individual, the penalties for successful complaints are statutory damages of $200 per violation and up to $1 million for each day on which the violation occurred. The process itself will likely be outlined more specifically once the legislation comes into force. Three interesting things to note about the enforcement of CASL are:
- False claims: any person can sue a sender for up to $1 million. But, if their claims are found to be incorrect, they will be required to pay court/legal fees.
- Due Diligence: if you can demonstrate that you made very strong efforts to comply with all the rules and done everything to obtain proper consent, then courts will take this into consideration. It is for this reason that documentation is extremely important.
- Extended liability: officers of an organization can also be held accountable for the messages sent out by their organization.
Considering the broad application and strict penalties imposed by CASL, all organizations will need to assess the extent to which they engage in the sending of commercial electronic messages as part of their marketing and business strategies, and thus the extent to which they may be exposed to CASL regulation.