Government of Canada suspends lawsuit provision in anti-spam legislation
June 7, 2017 – Ottawa – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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 private right of action, would have allowed lawsuits to be filed against individuals and organizations for alleged violations of the legislation.
The provisions were scheduled to come into force on July 1, 2017, but have now been suspended.
Canadians deserve an effective law that protects them from spam and other electronic threats that lead to harassment, identity theft and fraud. At the same time, Canadian businesses, charities and non-profit groups should not have to bear the burden of unnecessary red tape and costs to comply with the legislation.
The Government supports a balanced approach that protects the interests of consumers while eliminating any unintended consequences for organizations that have legitimate reasons for communicating electronically with Canadians.
For that reason, the Government will ask a parliamentary committee to review the legislation, in keeping with the existing provisions of CASL.
“Canadians deserve to be protected from spam and other electronic threats so that they can have confidence in digital technology. At the same time, businesses, charities and other non-profit groups should have reasonable ways to communicate electronically with Canadians. We have listened to the concerns of stakeholders and are committed to striking the right balance.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Canada’s anti-spam legislation came into effect on July 1, 2014. The law generally prohibits individuals and businesses from sending commercial email to Canadians without their consent.
Three federal agencies that work at arm’s length from the Government share responsibility for enforcing the legislation: the Competition Bureau, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
Penalties for the most serious violations of the legislation can range from a maximum of $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses.
As part of an international law-enforcement effort in December 2015, the CRTC served its first warrant under the legislation to take down spam software on a computer server based in Canada.
Follow Minister Bains on Twitter: @MinisterISED
Karl W. Sasseville
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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