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New rules for businesses emailing consumers


December 4, 2013
By Canadian Garden Centre & Nursery

Dec. 4, 2013, Ottawa — Canada's anti-spam law will come into force on July 1, 2014. The new law will grant consumers control over who can send them commercial and business e-mails.

Under the new rules, businesses will need to obtain consent from the recipient before sending a commercial email. Businesses will also need to offer the recipient a way to withdraw consent, such as an unsubscribe link included in the message.

"Our government does not believe Canadians should receive emails they do not want or did not ask to receive," said Minister of Industry James 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."

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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.

"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."

Messages sent in response to a consumer inquiry, or as a result of a referral, may be allowed under the new legislation. Messages sent to another business will also be permitted.

"[This legislation] 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," said Neil Schwartzman, executive director of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE). "Canadians will now enjoy a protected online ecosystem under this legislation."

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

The federal government estimates that spam costs the Canadian economy more than $3 billion per year.


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