Canada’s (new) Anti-Spam Legislation

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Canada is in the midst of enacting anti-spam legislation. Read more to find out what the new regulatory requirements are for sending certain types of emails and other electronic communications, and for installing software, including updates and upgrades!

Hi everyone,

Canada is in the midst of enacting Anti-Spam Legislation, known as CASL.

The actual name of CASL is a mouthful. It is as follows (which is why we are all calling it CASL!): An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act SC 2010, c 23.

CASL is governed and regulated by both the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and Industry Canada, and draft regulations and Interpretive Guidelines issued by both.  The law is expected to come into force this year (2013), once all of the regulations have been finalized.

The purpose of the law is to prevent the installation of certain types of computer programs (such as malware or spyware) without consent, and to regulate the sending of spam electronic communications. Industry Canada has published Regulations which state that CASL is meant to “encourage the growth of electronic commerce by ensuring confidence and trust in the on-line marketplace. To do so, [CASL] prohibits damaging and deceptive spam, spyware, malicious code, botnets and other related network threats”.

There are many concerns and possible challenges to the form of the legislation and regulations. In one of his blog posts Allen Mendelsohn references the statute as “the CASL” which I find amusing yet apt; if you read below and posts in the days to come, you will see that (depending on how it will be interpreted) the new law may create barriers to the sending of normal electronic communications, and regardless, adds a new regulatory compliance layer to all businesses, not-for-profits, educational institutions and charities amongst others. In addition, to the extent spam has its origins outside Canada, such spam will likely continue.

So what does CASL mean for you?

For most people and businesses, organizations, charities and the like, you have to determine whether the emails you send are what the legislation defines as “commercial electronic messages” or CEMs, and if so, you have to comply with certain consent and unsubscribe mechanisms.

Over the course of the next while I will be posting more information on what you might wish to consider to be compliant with CASL. Until then if you wish more information please feel free to contact me.

Cheers, Eve

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