Will Your Business Be Affected By Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law?

Do you market your products or services via email, text or on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter? Canada’s new anti-spam law is about to fundamentally alter online marketing activities in Canada. It is perhaps the most comprehensive Anti-Spam legislation in the world, which will regulate commercial electronic messages and impose stiff new anti-spyware provisions. It will also amend Canada’s privacy law, PIPEDA, and Competition Act.  Is your business ready?

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) passed parliament and received Royal Assent in December 2010. Final regulations for the law were issued March 2012 and the enforcement bodies have been identified, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the Competition Bureau. The goal of the law is to protect Canadians from spam, malware, including phishing and spyware, and other electronic threats.
Canada’s new anti-spam law will be among the world’s toughest when it comes into force some time this fall. Lawyers and marketing specialists say Canadian businesses need to understand the law and make some changes in the way they use e-mail to avoid possible fines.

The CRTC will have primary enforcement responsibility and will be able to investigate, take action and set monetary penalties against those who violate the law by sending unwanted spam, installing malware and altering transmission data.

Whenever CASL comes into force, one thing is clear—now is the right time for those that will be affected to get up to speed with the requirements of CASL and make a plan for compliance, if this has not already occurred. Ignoring CASL is not a viable option—offences in it are broad and the penalties for non-compliance are significant (the maximum penalty for a violation is $1,000,000 for an individual and $10,000,000 for a business).

To help businesses interpret the law and the CRTC’s regulations “Compliance and Enforcement Information Bulletins” are being published to set out examples of acceptable practices. For more information, please visit www.fightspam.gc.ca.