OTTAWA – Today, the CRTC announced that it has reached an agreement with Gap Inc. [GPS.NYSE] for allegedly violating Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL). In addition to implementing corrective measures, it has agreed to make a payment of $200,000. Gap is a US-based global apparel retailer which operates several clothing divisions, including Banana Republic and Old Navy. CRTC staff issued a warning letter to Gap in December 2018 to inform the company that it had received complaints from Canadians regarding Gap’s electronic messaging practices. In June 2021, in light of continuing submissions from Canadians, the CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer (CCEO) opened a formal investigation into compliance with CASL.
The CCEO had reason to believe that, between January 2018 and August 2021, Gap sent commercial electronic messages to Canadians without the necessary consent. Gap’s messages also allegedly did not consistently include either an unsubscribe mechanism or an unsubscribe mechanism which could easily be performed – all of which are required under CASL. Upon being made aware of the CCEO’s concerns, Gap proactively made changes to its marketing practices and engaged with CRTC staff to reach a settlement.
“Canada’s anti-spam legislation is essential in today’s e-commerce-driven society. Businesses, both large and small, must comply with CASL rules at all times. Gap fully cooperated with our investigation, voluntarily entered into an agreement and proactively implemented corrective measures to ensure compliance. Cooperation is at the core of our approach to compliance as it avoids lengthy investigations and obtains timely results for Canadians.” – Steven Harroun, Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer, CRTC
Since CASL came into force, the CRTC’s enforcement efforts have resulted in payments of more than $1.4 million, including penalties totalling approximately $805,000. In addition, $668,000 has been paid as part of negotiated undertakings.