Canadian Publishing Industry News
26 June 2017,    
Canada's Anti-Spam - Private Right to Sue is Suspended

In a big left turn the Government of Canada is suspending the implementation of certain provisions in Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) that was introduced in 2014 in response to 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. 


According to the press release, 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.


This is good news for marketers as the law perhaps went too far in trying to address the needs of the industry, consumer protection and deterrence through fines. In addition to email the law also  makes it illegal to install any malware on your computer and now anyone who does it is now breaking the law. It seems globally the market will eventually adopt the European model where permission is needed to install cookies on your computer that is not prevalent in Canada and the USA. The key requirements of CASL Compliance are consent, unsubscribe, record-keeping and sender transparency. It’s not good enough to feel you are compliant. You must be able to prove it according to Joan Brehl VP/GM of the Alliance of Audited Media. 

In a survey by the Direct Marketing Association of Canada (DMAC) and Fasken Martineau in March 2017 shows, even after almost 3 years of CASL being in force, there is still a notable lack of understanding about key elements of the law, and an even larger gap when it comes to understanding how it should be implemented to ensure full compliance.The Alliance for Audited Media is offering two new programs to help companies ensure they are compliant with CASL. The programs—AAM CASL Gap Analysis and AAM CASL Compliance—were designed in collaboration with Derek Lackey, President of the Direct Marketing Association of Canada. 

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