Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation – Did you know it exists?

For the longest time, I have based my email campaigns practices on that of the U.S. anti-spam legislation, and since I am a Constant Contact Partner, their ‘best practices’ outline as well.  Until recently (December 10, 2010), Canada did not have their own version of anti-spam legislation. Well now they do.

What does it mean to the average business?

The key points:
“The new act would establish a regulatory framework to protect electronic commerce in Canada and would:

  • address unsolicited commercial electronic mail (spam) by prohibiting the sending of commercial electronic messages without consent;
  • prohibit detrimental practices to electronic commerce, protect the integrity of transmission data and prohibit the installation of computer programs without consent in the course of commercial activity;
  • prohibit false or misleading commercial representations online;
  • prohibit the collection of personal information via unlawful access to computer systems and the unauthorized compiling or supplying of lists of electronic addresses;
  • provide for a private right of action for businesses and consumers;
  • provide for extended liability (follow the money);
  • allow the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and Competition Tribunal Canada to impose administrative monetary penalties on those who violate the respective Acts; and

The new act will be enforced by three organizations:

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
The Competition Bureau
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner

In short – the basics require that your email database be permission-based. We will explore more about this in upcoming blogs.

The Canadian government predicts the results of their new anti-spam legislation to become noticeable fairly quickly, siting that one year after Australia introduced similar legislation they dropped off the world’s top 10 spam originating countries.

While Bill C-28 is extremely lengthy, be sure to follow my blog for a better understanding of what it means to you as a small business owner and your email marketing campaigns. The next few blogs will cover this topic.

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