The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) published two decisions last week involving CompuFinder, the Quebec-based training provider that earned the very first penalty under Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). One decision dealt with a constitutional challenge to the law (the law was found to be constitutional in all respects). The other found CompuFinder to be in violation of CASL, while lowering the penalty to $200,000 from the $1.1 million originally set by CRTC staff.
The two decisions comprise a total of 69 pages that, while interesting in some respects, offer little practical insight on the many ambiguities in CASL. Further, as an administrative tribunal, the Commission’s constitutional analysis would be afforded no deference by a court.
However, by raising these constitutional questions, CompuFinder has forced the Commission to carefully consider its role under CASL, resulting in what appears to be a more restrained view on interpreting the law and imposing penalties. Hopefully this will encourage CRTC staff to take a similar approach going forward.