The Government of Canada has suspended a new provision in the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) in response to concerns raised by businesses and organizations.
A new update to CASL is scheduled to take place on July 1, 2017. One of the provisions that was scheduled to come into force with this update has been suspended as a parliamentary committee reviews the legislation.
The provision under review relates to the Private Right of Action which would give individuals the ability to file lawsuits against individuals or organizations for violating the anti-spam laws.
What You Need to Know
CASL protects individuals and businesses from unwanted emails. These laws are applicable to all individuals and organizations that:
- Use email, SMS, social media or instant messaging to send commercial or promotional information to gain or contact clients
- Install software programs to people’s computers or mobile devices
- Carry out either one of these activities in or from Canada
For companies, the most important element of CASL is acquiring proper consent from clients who are willing to receive your promotional messages. If consent is not established, sending email messages to clients could constitute a violation of CASL.
Private Right of Action
Currently, CASL is enforced by three Government entities, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. The Private Right of Action would open CASL claims to individuals.
With potential penalties as high as $1 million per day and ambiguity about how these new provisions might be interpreted, the Government of Canada has removed the Private Right of Action from the July 1 update.
In a news release , the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development stated that the Government of Canada’s main goal is to “support 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.”
The private right of action is under further review. No timeline has been released for an update, but we will continue to keep you informed as more information becomes available.
The CASL website, including tips on how to protect your company from CASL violations: http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home
The full text of CASL: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-1.6/index.html
The news release about the Private Right of Action: https://www.canada.ca/en/innovation-science-economic-development/news/2017/06/government_of_canadasuspendslawsuitprovisioninanti-spamlegislati.html