The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), an organization similar to the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission in the United States, has issued a $50,000 penalty to Blackstone Learning Corporation. This is the firstenforcement decisionon Canada's anti-spam law that was passed over two years ago.
Blackstone sent over 385,000 unsolicited emails to the email addresses of government employees that were gathered through various websites. These marketing emails promoted the company's technical writing, grammar, and stress-management programs. Blackstone argued that because the email addresses were published for the public on the internet, there was implied consent. The CRTC countered this argument because the law only allows for unsolicited messages to "conspicuously published" addresses where the content of the message is relevant to the recipients official position.
The penalty was originally set at $640,000, but after some deliberation the CRTC eventually determined that Blackstone would be unable to pay that much. The $50,000 penalty was determined to be more appropriate.
For marketers in the US, this serves as a good reminder to understand both Canada's Anti-Spam Law and the CAN-SPAM act.