Canada’s onerous anti-spam legislation (CASL) came into force on July 1, 2014, but there has not been any news on enforcement activity by the regulators. However, that is not due to a lack of opportunity – by the end of September, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) had received over 100,000 complaints from members of the public about unwanted commercial electronic messages. We are expecting reports of enforcement activity – and hopefully with it some guidance on outstanding interpretation issues – any time now.
Franchisors looking to strengthen CASL compliance efforts should be aware that shortly before the legislation came into effect, the CRTC issued a Compliance and Enforcement Bulletin providing guidelines for businesses to develop corporate compliance programs. In the bulletin, the CRTC suggests two reasons for developing a full compliance program: it can help reduce the risk of a contravention, and it can help establish a due diligence defence in the event that a contravention occurs. According to the CRTC’s guidance, organizations need to develop, record and implement procedures and policies for creating a compliance program.
A compliance plan should:
- create systems to track and document consent;
- facilitate a mechanism for requests from recipients to unsubscribe;
- provide internal education and training about CASL;
- prepare audit and monitor procedures; and
- clearly define responsibilities for any employee who has a role to play in CASL compliance.
Further, franchisors developing a corporate compliance plan will face the added challenge of addressing the exchange of information with franchisees (e.g., consider joint marketing programs). For further information, read our backgrounder on CASL and how it impacts franchisors.
Part of the October 2014 - Franchise Review