This morning, the government unveiled regulations for Canada’s anti-spam law. The law is now scheduled to come into force on July 1, 2014. The regulations have been modified significantly from what was published in Gazette I in January of this year (Gazette II is expected on Dec. 18, 2013). Given the complexity of the new regulations and the number of changes, we need to review the document in more detail. We will provide you this analysis in the coming days.
We are pleased to see that a number of the concerns we raised were addressed within these revisions. As examples, the grandfathering of consents, the limiting of extraterritorial overreach, the exemption of closed messaging systems and delay in the private right of action provisions are all positive steps forward.
However, we remain concerned that even with the changes presented today, business will still incur significant compliance costs and will be exposed to financial risks for inadvertent non-compliance.
Spam is an invasive problem. We can all agree to that. The volume of unsolicited bulk email and instant messages—usually of a commercial nature—coupled with an overabundance of spyware/malware continue to plague productivity and economies around the globe. We are not arguing that. What was presented today aims at tackling this issue, but at the same time it penalizes Canadian companies, especially SMEs.
We believe the legislation and the regulations in their current form will help solve the problem of nuisance/fraudulent messages or of nuisance/malicious software, but the legislation will also impede commercial speech and cost millions of dollars to Canadian businesses across the country.
We invite you to consult an overview of what we have been advocating for over the last few months. We will continue to advocate for changes that will not impede commercial speech.
For more information, please consult the following sources or contact Scott Smith, Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy.
Industry Canada Press Release
Industry Canada Regulations