Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law and American Businesses
Posted on July 14, 2014

Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law and American Businesses

Users of electronic media may recall recently having received email messages both from familiar and unknown websites requesting the recipient to click a confirmation request so as to ensure continued communication from the business or party concerned. This procedure supposedly helps the company comply with the new legislation referred to as CASL…Canada’s Anti-Spam Law. This law, also known as Bill C-28, is the strongest and most stringent piece of legislation worldwide. This law came into effect on July 1, 2014. It protects Canadians, and at the same time allows legitimate businesses to compete in the global market. The law applies to any CEM..Commercial Electronic Message sent via any online medium such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or email. Canada is the last of the G20 nations to introduce this type of legislation.  Some detractors would even term the new law as draconian. How can this law affect your business if you use online resources to promote your business? How will it impact American companies doing business in Canada?

If your business is outside Canada, you can only employ electronic communication if you have the consent-written or oral- of the recipient, and have clearly identified your company name. You must also allow recipients to unsubscribe. Such consent may already exist due to an existing relationship, however; such consent ends two years after the transaction has ended. The onus is on any business to authenticate any deal and keep a record of the timing involved.

This new law complies with international agreements, so it is important for businesses to be aware of how it will affect the bottom line. The Canadian government via the CRTC..Canadian Radio-Telecommunications Commission has been informing businesses about this new legislation…. in violation of the new legislation could face steep penalties of up to $10 million for each infraction, whereas individuals can be fined up to $1 million per violation.

While this law aims to reduce spam significantly, the legislation is trying to balance the privacy of Canadians with the need of legitimate businesses to promote themselves to consumers. Consumers will have easy recourse to lodge complaints against businesses that are in breach of the legislation. Not everyone is happy with this new law. Many businesses, especially small concerns are very wary of the new legislation. They feel that the law will impact their business adversely. Smaller businesses with modest budgets will experience difficulties complying. They feel that the time frame to comply has not been long enough. This law affectsbusiness communication and also impacts non-profit organizations and most charities.

A big worry for businesses is that non-compliance with the legislation will involve lots of red tape that will inhibit businesses from competing effectively, thus putting them at a distinct disadvantage. Businesses can also be under the threat of class action lawsuits.  A marketing company… has published a free online CASL Survival Guide, which offers advice and tips for businesses about how to navigate through this complex morass. It also offers some practical info about how to deal with adverse emotions that may arise as a result.

Due to all the publicity, foreign companies are paying close attention. Many companies feel that this legislation will negatively impact their business instead of reducing spam. They feel that this law will in effect eliminate or inhibit communication, especially smaller businesses that rely on email as an inexpensive way of communicating with new possible clients. Will the United States come on board and comply with the new international norm?


Tags: Canadian, Anti-Spam Law, American Businesses, CRTC,