Canada's new anti-spam law has now received royal
assent and will begin to take effect on July 1, 2014.
The law is broad and the penalties for non-compliance are very
steep. Virtually every person and business in Canada will be
affected by the law and will need to rethink how they send emails,
voicemails and other telecommunications.
Here are some highlights:
The law prohibits any person from sending (or causing or
permitting to be sent) a commercial electronic message unless the
recipient expressly or implicitly consents to receiving the
The definition of "commercial electronic message" is
very broad and includes any message sent by telecommunications
(including e-mail, text messages, voicemail, social media
communications, etc.) if the purpose of that message is to
encourage participation in a commercial activity.
Commercial electronic messages cannot be sent without the
recipients' consent. Consent can be express or implied, and
there are specific rules for how to obtain consent. There are some
limited exceptions to the consent requirement.
All commercial electronic messages must identify the person who
sent the message (and if different, the person on whose behalf it
was sent); provide accurate contact information for these parties;
and sent out by a mechanism through which the recipient may
The recipient must be able to unsubscribe using the same means
by which the message was sent. There are specific rules and time
limits for complying with unsubscribe requests.
The maximum penalty for a violation of the legislation is
$1,000,000 for an individual and $10,000,000 for a corporation or
other business entity. These fines are imposed per violation, and a
violation is defined as being separate for each day that it
Violations under the Act create both direct and vicarious
liability, and directors or officers of corporations may be
personally liable for the corporation's violations. Employers
are also liable for violations committed by their employees acting
within the scope of their employment.
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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