Dealers need to stay vigilant on CASL, says CADA’s Ryan

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The federal government may have postponed enacting some provisions of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (known as CASL), but dealers need to remain hyper-vigilant that they stay compliant, said Tim Ryan, Vice-president and Director of Industry Relations & General Counsel with the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA).

“From a dealer’s perspective it doesn’t mean they should cease being vigilant in making sure they are compliant with CASL,” said Ryan, in an interview with Canadian auto dealer.

CASL came into force in 2014, and places restrictions on what businesses — including dealerships — can send as commercial electronic messages, or CEMs, such as email, texts, instant messages and other electronic communications that promote a good, service or business opportunity to consumers without their consent.

Penalties for the most serious violations of the legislation can range from a maximum of $1 million dollars for an individual and $10 million for businesses.

“We have some of the most stringent anti-spam laws in the world,” said Ryan. “It’s something dealers continuously need to be mindful of. It’s an important topic and one we’ve been committed to at CADA for a long time.”

“We have some of the most stringent anti-spam laws in the world. It’s something dealers continuously need to mindful of.”

— Tim Ryan, Vice-president and Director of Industry Relations & General Counsel , CADA

CADA was in the midst of conducting another round of information briefings for dealers, including sending out a memo and holding an updated webinar, in anticipation of the arrival of the private right of action provisions that were due to take effect on July 1, 2017. Then on June 7, 2017, the federal government announced it would “postpone” those provisions.

“The Government of Canada is suspending the implementation of certain provisions in Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) in response to broad-based concerns raised by businesses, charities and the not-for-profit sector. The provisions, known as right of action, would have allowed lawsuits to be filed against individuals and organizations for alleged violations of the legislation,” said the government in its news release. “The provisions were scheduled to come into force on July 1, 2017, but have now been suspended.”

Ryan said the association welcomed the news. “We were pleased that the federal government chose to postpone bringing the particular private right of action into force,” said Ryan. “We really applaud the government for taking that practical approach to this. We think it was the right one.”

While CADA provides valuable information memos and webinars on CASL to its members, Ryan said dealers need to get their own private legal advice to ensure their practices are CASL compliant. It’s also important for dealers to carefully scrutinize contracts and the practices of any third parties that do electronic marketing on behalf of the dealership to ensure they too are complying with the legislation.

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