March 25, 2015 – Ottawa–Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today announced that Plentyoffish Media Inc. has paid $48,000 as part of an undertaking for an alleged violation of Canada’s anti-spam legislation.
Acting on complaints submitted by Canadians, the CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer launched an investigation. Plentyoffish Media had allegedly sent commercial emails to registered users of the Plenty of Fish online dating service with an unsubscribe mechanism that was not clearly and prominently set out, and which could not be readily performed, as required by the legislation. The emails sent by Plentyoffish Media notified users of services available through their registration to the dating site. The alleged violation occurred between July 1, 2014 and October 8, 2014.
Once made aware of the investigation by the CRTC, Plentyoffish Media updated its unsubscribe mechanism to comply with the legislation.
As part of the undertaking, Plentyoffish Media will develop and implement a compliance program to ensure that its activities are compliant with Canada’s anti-spam legislation. The compliance program will include training and education for staff and corporate policies and procedures.
The CRTC is assessing all complaints submitted to the Spam Reporting Centre that are under its mandate and a number of investigations are currently underway. The CRTC is working with its partners, both within Canada and internationally, to protect Canadians from online threats and contribute to a more secure online environment.
The CRTC can discuss corrective actions with individuals, firms or organizations, which may lead to an undertaking that includes an amount to be paid and other corrective measures. As part of its powers, the CRTC can also issue warning letters, preservation demands, notices to produce, restraining orders and notices of violation.
Canadians are encouraged to report spam to the Spam Reporting Centre. The information sent to the Centre is used by the CRTC, the Competition Bureau, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to enforce Canada’s anti-spam law.
- Plentyoffish Media has entered into an undertaking with the CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer, under which the company has paid $48,000 for alleged non-compliance with Canada’s anti-spam legislation.
- Plentyoffish Media allegedly sent commercial emails to registered users of its online dating site that did not contain an unsubscribe mechanism that was set out clearly and prominently, and that could be readily performed.
- Once made aware of the investigation by the CRTC, Plentyoffish Media updated its unsubscribe mechanism to comply with the legislation.
- To help Canadian businesses comply with the law, the CRTC has provided numerous information sessions across the country and made guidance materials available on its website.
- The CRTC is working with its partners, both within Canada and internationally, to protect Canadians from online threats and contribute to a more secure online environment.
- Canada’s anti-spam legislation protects Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace.
- Canada’s anti-spam legislation was adopted by Parliament in December 2010 and came into force on July 1, 2014.
“Prior to the coming into force of Canada's anti-spam law, the CRTC conducted numerous outreach sessions and issued guidance material on interpretation of the new requirements. Plentyoffish Media erred by sending commercial electronic messages to its registered users with unsubscribe mechanisms that were not in compliance with the law.
This case is an important reminder to businesses that they need to review their unsubscribe mechanisms to ensure they are clearly and prominently set out and can be readily performed. We appreciate that Plentyoffish Media changed its practices once it became aware of the problem. The CRTC encourages Canadians to continue to report suspected violations to the Spam Reporting Centre.”
Manon Bombardier, Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer