Canada’s Anti-Spam Law: Where Is It?

by Jordan Richardson on January 2, 2013

Two years ago, Canada’s Conservatives passed anti-spam legislation. Two years later, the law is still not in play and the spam situation in the Great White North has remained the same.

Since 2004, Canada’s federal government has been looking for a way to target unsolicited email. The December 2010 Anti-Spam Act was supposed to zero in on this problem, regulating “all forms of commercial electronic communication” in hopes of combating spam.

A number of provisions in the Act would allow Canada’s regulatory body, the CRTC, the right to clamp down on offenders. The CRTC finalized its own regulations in March of 2012, even setting up a Spam Reporting Centre, and are ready to enforce the Act.

So what’s the problem? Why is the Act not being enforced?

Industry Canada seems to be at the centre of the holdup. According to CBC News, the department had some “input” to its August 2011 draft of the Act and it has been working on the process of finalizing it ever since. This includes a “new set of draft regulations for pre-publication, which will include a second round of public consultation.”

There has been some talk about the “toughness” of the proposed Act, with lawyer Tricia Kuhl among those representing clients who consider the Act “burdensome” and “onerous.”

This, of course, calls into question who the Anti-Spam Act is really designed to protect. If the Act is supposed to carve out a new way for companies to get unsolicited electronic communications to prospective customers, it will inevitably be wrong-headed.

If it’s designed to help consumers and others not receive spam, it should keep its “tough” focus no matter what business leaders think.

As for now, it looks like this Act is going to languish for a while. In the meantime, confusion is the order of the day and Canada will continue to sit with an unenforced anti-spam law.

For now, curious onlookers will have a website about the soon-to-come legislation. “Canada’s new anti-spam law has been passed, but is not yet in force. A specific date for coming into force of the law will be set in the coming months. Once in force, it will allow for investigations of alleged violations of the law,” reads the government site.

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Written by: Jordan Richardson. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSSTwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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