Canada’s new anti spam law, which outlines that businesses cannot send commercial electronic messages without consent, will take effect on July 1, 2014.
Canada has become a leader in developing and enforcing the anti spam Act and according to the Federal Government, it was created to protect citizens and to ensure that businesses can ‘continue to compete in a global marketplace.’
As mentioned, the new law prohibits businesses from sending commercial electronic messages without recipient consent. This includes sending messages to email addresses, social networking accounts and cell phones.
The law also prohibits the installation of computer programs without consent; the use of false or misleading online promotions for products or services; the collection of personal information through illegal access of a computer system; and the collection and use of electronic addresses without permission.
There are several exceptions however. For example, commercial electronic messages that are sent within an organization or sent between companies that already have a relationship are exempt from the anti-spam provisions.
Commercial electronic messages that are: sent through platforms that include ‘unsubscribe’ options; sent within secure and confidential accounts (such as banking websites); sent in response to complaints, inquiries, and requests; sent due to a legal or juridical obligation; sent by or on behalf of charities for fundraising purposes; or sent by or on behalf of a political party or organization, are also all exempt. Third party referrals are excluded as well.
The Act also requires that the meaning of “personal relationship” and “family relationship” be clearly defined by organizations in order to outline ‘legal certainty’ as to which relationships will be exempt.
Starting July 1, 2017, citizens and organizations will be able to pursue a lawsuit against someone who they believe has violated the anti spam law.
There are three government agencies responsible for enforcement of the law: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC); The Competition Bureau; and The Office of the Privacy Commissioner. These agencies will be allowed to share information with foreign governments if the information is relevant to an investigation.
Full details about Canada’s Anti-Spam law and its exclusions can be found here.
360 Visibility will begin including the opt-in/opt-out option in all of its correspondence including mailings, email signatures, website, social media, etc. in order to align with federal law.
July 1, 2014 – Canada’s anti spam law takes effect
January 15, 2015 – unsolicited installation of computer programs or software takes effect
July 1, 2017 – lawsuits against individuals and organizations who fail to comply take effect