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Protected from Spam and Online Threats

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

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.

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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.

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