eCaseNote 2017 No. 05

Spammers (Still) Beware: Private Right of Action Under Anti-Spam Legislation Put on Hold

Canada Anti-Spam Legislation, SC 2010, c 23



Following an earlier announcement described in our eCaseNote 2017 No. 04, the Government of Canada has conducted an about-face and now intends to suspend the implementation of a private right of action under Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). The private right of action, which would have come into effect on July 1st, 2017, granted a penalty of up to $1,000,000 per day of breach.

In a news release, the Government explained its reasoning for the suspension: 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.

Businesses and organizations may take comfort in the fact that anticipated CASL-related private actions will be put on hold for the time being. Nonetheless, they should remain diligent and proactive in their compliance efforts. The severe administrative penalties enacted by the legislation are still in place. Under these penalties, a corporation may be fined up to $10,000,000 per breach.

For this reason, businesses and organizations that have not yet done so should follow through on initiatives to comply with CASL despite the recent announcement. In particular, before sending any commercial electronic message, senders must ensure that (1) the recipient consents to receiving the message, (2) the message includes the identity and contact information of the sender, and (3) the message includes an unsubscribe mechanism.



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