Dear Uncle: No more spam

Michael Fekete

Dec 11, 2013

Drew Hasselback, Legal Post, National Post

It’s official. As of July 1, your sister or your uncle can’t send you spam.

The family relationship exemption — married partners and children can send you spam, siblings and other relatives can’t — is one of the many regulations the federal government has finally introduced to guide the enforcement of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation or CASL.

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Parliament passed the legislation in 2010, and we’ve been waiting a long time for the final regulations. It took until last week for the government to release the final set. Most of these kick in July 1, but there are two other provisions that enter into force later. Rules relating to the unsolicited installation of computer programs or software come into force on Jan. 15, 2015 and — pay attention, class action lawyers — sections that grant individuals a private right of action to sue spammers for non-compliance take effect on July 1, 2017.

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“Most industry participants will likely view the changes as not going far enough to overcome what some commentators have described as ‘red tape’ impediments on doing business,” writes Michael Fekete of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.

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There’s a lot at stake here for marketers. The law introduces significant “administrative monetary penalties” or AMPs for those who violate the law: up to $10-million for corporations and $1-million for individuals. Three government agencies will enforce the law: the CRTC, the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

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