Industry Canada



Industry Canada

December 04, 2013 09:00 ET

Harper Government Delivers on Commitment to Protect Canadian Consumers from Spam

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 4, 2013) - The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry, today announced that Canada's anti-spam law will come into force on July 1, 2014.

"Our government does not believe Canadians should receive emails they do not want or did not ask to receive," said Minister Moore. "These legislative measures will protect consumers from spam and other threats that lead to harassment, identity theft and fraud. We are prohibiting unsolicited text messages, including cellphone spam, and giving Canadian businesses clarity so they can continue to compete in the online marketplace."

Bill C-28 received support from all parties in the House of Commons and Senate and was passed by Parliament in December 2010. The legislation was the result of extensive consultation with Canadian businesses. Canada's anti-spam law will deter the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam, such as identity theft, phishing and spyware, from occurring in Canada and will help drive out spammers. Canadian charities, which operate based on the generosity of Canadians, will be able to continue fundraising as before.

"Canada's anti-spam legislation will mark a new era in consumers' and citizens' use of the Internet to communicate with businesses," said John Lawford, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Public Interest Advocacy Centre. "Consumers and citizens will now be better able to decide for themselves whether and how they will engage with companies using electronic means for commercial messages. Consumers and citizens will now have more control of all of their inboxes on all of their devices and hopefully will be able to use email and other messaging services with a confidence that matches their love of the convenience of these methods."

"The coming into force of Canada's new anti-spam law is good news for consumers," said Aubrey LeBlanc, President of the Consumers Council of Canada. "The law should help curb unwanted junk entering our email boxes and give the government authority to do something about unscrupulous emailers. Internet users and honest businesses will welcome the opportunity to clean up email."

"This legislation makes Canada a place where abusive messaging will no longer be tolerated," said Neil Schwartzman, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE). "It protects lawful businesses and consumers from the bad actors ruinously abusing the online experience of millions by putting a stop to email spam and all types of messaging abuse. CAUCE regards the safety of Internet users as paramount," Mr. Schwartzman added. "Canadians will now enjoy a protected online ecosystem under this legislation."

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 3-year review of the anti-spam law to ensure it reflects technological change and an evolving digital economy.

More information on Canada's anti-spam legislation is in the attached backgrounder.

Follow us on Twitter: @industrycanada

Backgrounder

Building Consumer Trust in the Online Marketplace

The Government of Canada today announced that Canada's anti-spam law (the Act) is coming into force. The new Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations were developed based on extensive public consultations. Together with the Act, they provide a strong legal foundation to protect consumers online while allowing Canadian businesses to prosper using modern digital technologies in legitimate ways.

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.

Canadians will also be able to report false or misleading online business claims. As well, accessing computer systems to collect personal information or to gather and share lists of email addresses will be a violation under the Act. The new regulations make it clear that the fundraising activities of Canadian charities, which operate on the generosity of Canadians, will be exempted from the Act.

Canadians will be able to report violations and file complaints on the Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation website (http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home).

On January 15, 2015, the sections of the Act related to the unsolicited installation of computer programs or software will come into force. As a result, Canadians will be empowered to decide who is allowed to put computer programs on their mobile phone, tablet or computer and what those programs are allowed to do.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada will jointly enforce the Act. They will share information with their global partners to track spammers outside of Canada.

The Government recognizes that companies need to be able to send business-related messages uninhibited by unnecessary regulation. For example, messages sent internally or to another business will be permitted. Email sent as part of a product recall, in response to a consumer inquiry or as a result of a referral may also be allowed.

The regulations are available on the Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation website (http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home). The website also provides information on how Canadian consumers can better protect themselves from spam and related online threats, together with information about the Act for businesses.

Contact Information

  • Jake Enwright
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Honourable James Moore
    Minister of Industry
    613-995-9001

    Media Relations
    Industry Canada
    613-943-2502
    1-800-328-6189
    media-relations@ic.gc.ca