After almost a decade of consultation and debate, the Government
of Canada today announced that Canada's anti-spam law is coming
into force. July 1, 2014 is the day on which the majority of
provisions of 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, ("Canada's Anti- Spam
Legislation") come into force. Section 8 of the Act comes into
force on January 15, 2015, while sections 47 to 51 and section 55
of the Act come into force on July 1, 2017.
What does this mean for your organization?
As of July 1, 2014, most of Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation
will come into effect and businesses will have to comply with the
requirements surrounding sending and disseminating commercial
electronic messages, including strict consent and detailed content
obligations. On January 15, 2015, the sections of the Act related
to the unsolicited installation of computer programs or software
will come into force.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission,
the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner
of Canada will jointly enforce Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation
and they will be permitted to share information with their
international counterparts to track spammers outside of Canada.
Businesses and persons that do not comply risk significant
financial penalties. Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation will be
enforced through regulatory measures such as extremely steep
administrative monetary penalties as well as through a private
right of action.
What is next?
Businesses now have a firm deadline for obtaining all of the
requisite consents and to modify their business and communication
practices to accord with Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation. To the
extent businesses have not already undertaken this exercise, they
are well advised to do so as soon as possible because once
Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation comes into force, businesses
will be significantly limited in their ways to obtain the
appropriate consents and will face significant penalties for
failure to comply.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The British Columbia Court of Appeal in Vancouver Community College v Vancouver Career College (Burnaby) Inc., 2017 BCCA 41 has reversed a lower court decision involving whether the use of keywords in online advertising constitutes passing off.
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