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Archived - Harper Government Delivers on Commitment to Protect Canadian Consumers from Spam and Online Threats

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New Anti-Spam Legislation in Effect July 1

June 30, 2014 – Ottawa – Industry Canada

On July 1, 2014, Canada's anti-spam legislation will come into force. The new rules will protect Canadian consumers from the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam and online threats, such as identity theft, phishing and spyware, and will help drive out spammers.

Canada's anti-spam legislation is the result of extensive consultations with Canadian businesses and consumers. Many steps have been taken to limit the impact on Canadian businesses, while ensuring strong protections for consumers online. Organizations will have three years to obtain express consent from their existing clients to continue to send them emails. Registered charities, which operate on the generosity of Canadians, will be able to continue to request donations.

The Harper Government is delivering on a commitment to put Canadian consumers first. The coming into force of Canada's anti-spam legislation is a key principle under Digital Canada 150, the government's plan for Canadians to take full advantage of opportunities in the digital age.

Quick facts

  • Bill C-28 received support from all parties in the House of Commons and Senate and was passed by Parliament in December 2010.
  • The new law will help to protect consumers against:
    • receiving emails and text messages without consent;
    • having computer programs installed without consent;
    • misleading representations online; and
    • having their electronic addresses and personal information collected without consent.
  • As of July 1, 2014, consumers will have control over who can send them a commercial electronic message or business email. Even with the consumer's consent, companies will have to identify themselves in their emails and provide a way to unsubscribe from receiving further messages. Spammers that do not comply risk major financial penalties.
  • On January 15, 2015, it will be illegal to install programs such as malware on an individual's computer without his/her consent.
  • Starting July 1, 2017, individuals and organizations can file lawsuits against someone who they allege has violated the law.
  • Spam and related violations can be reported to the enforcement agencies through the Spam Reporting Centre. The CRTC has the primary enforcement responsibility under the new anti-spam law and will be able to investigate, take action against and set administrative monetary penalties for those who are not in compliance.
  • Canadian businesses still have three years to renew consent with existing clients.
  • If a business already has express consent, it can continue to communicate with clients through email and not be in violation of the law.
  • Under the new rules, express consent never expires unless the client withdraws it.
  • It is estimated that spam costs the Canadian economy more than $3 billion per year.
  • Many of Canada's global partners, such as Australia, the U.K. and the U.S., have already passed strong laws to combat spam and related online threats. Included in Canada's approach is a mandatory three-year review of the anti-spam law to ensure it reflects technological change and an evolving digital economy.

Quotes

"Canadians should not receive emails that they do not want or did not ask to receive. Protecting consumers online is a priority, and that is why we are taking action to eliminate malicious online threats against Canadians. Canada's anti-spam law will put the interests of consumers first while ensuring that Canadian businesses can continue to thrive in the online marketplace."

– Industry Minister James Moore

"This legislation will help deter deceptive online marketing practices that harm legitimate businesses' ability to compete and that negatively impact consumers' ability to make informed decisions. Together with the help of fellow federal agencies, we will work to vigorously enforce the law in order to prevent this type of anti-competitive activity from occurring."

– John Pecman, Commissioner of Competition, Competition Bureau

"Clearly, spamming is an online activity that can involve a misuse of personal information and compromise an individual's sense of privacy. The coming into force of this law is an important step to help address privacy risks in the online world, and my Office looks forward to working with our enforcement partners to better protect Canadians."

– Daniel Therrien, Privacy Commissioner of Canada

"The CRTC is ready to do its part to protect Canadians from online threats and contribute to a more secure online environment. We have been actively informing Canadian businesses about the anti-spam legislation and their new responsibilities. Our goal is to ensure that their commercial electronic messages—whether an email, text message, message on a social media network or other form of electronic communication—comply with the rules. We have a variety of enforcement tools at our disposal, including the ability to execute warrants and impose significant monetary penalties, and we will use cutting-edge cyber security techniques to investigate violations."

– Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

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Contacts

Jake Enwright
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Industry
613-995-9001

Media Relations
Industry Canada
613-943-2502
media-relations@ic.gc.ca


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