Regulations finalized: new Anti-Spam Act to take effect on July 1, 2014

Dec 27 2013

Three years after the passage of Canada’s “anti-spam” law, the enabling regulations have been passed. The law will be implemented in stages over several years, starting July 1, 2014. The new law is similar in many respects to legislation in the US, UK and Australia.

The law imposes requirements for most “business to consumer” electronic messages and certain “usiness to business” communications. Many “business to consumer” communications will require an express “opt-in” consent from recipients, which will have to be renewed every two years. Certain categories of communications may have implied consent, for example if the parties have had an existing business relationship for more than two years. The law does not target non-commercial communications such as those from charities and political parties, although it may not always be clear whether any specific organization or communication is commercial or non-commercial in nature.

The law applies to essentially any form of electronic communication such as text messages and is not limited to email.

Violators can be reported through Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation website, which is expected to be operational when the legislation comes into force.

While the act and the associated regulations are being welcomed by organizations such as Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Consumers Council of Canada and the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email, critics have predicted a high cost and impediments to businesses that rely on electronic communications with their customers and clients.

The law has the potential to impact nearly every business, since it is almost universal for businesses to communicate electronically with existing or prospective customers and clients or in a less targeted fashion. It is important for any business that communicates with individuals in Canada to consider the impact of the new law on their practices.

Ridout & Maybee LLP has extensive experience with e-commerce law – contact us for help in guiding your business through the new regime.

For more information, visit the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation website.

This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice.

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Tags: Advertising & Marketing, CASL, E-Commerce