The Anti-Spam private right of action provisions, under Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL), which were scheduled to become law on July 1st, 2017, have been suspended.
The intent of the CASL legislation, was to provide that commercial electronic messages cannot be sent by organizations, unless the recipient had provided prior express or implied consent. Under the private right of action, an organization that is in breach CASL, would have been exposed to lawsuits for statutory damages equal to $200 for each breach to a maximum of $1,000,000 for each day of breach regardless of the amount of actual damages suffered.
The Government of Canada announced, in a News Release dated June 7th, 2017, that the implementation of the private right of action is suspended in response to broad-based concerns raised by various organizations. That announcement appears below:
June 7, 2017 – Ottawa – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
The Government of Canada is suspending the implementation of certain provisions in Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) in response to broad-based concerns raised by businesses, charities and the not-for-profit sector.
The provisions, known as private right of action, would have allowed lawsuits to be filed against individuals and organizations for alleged violations of the legislation.
The provisions were scheduled to come into force on July 1, 2017, but have now been suspended.
Canadians deserve an effective law that protects them from spam and other electronic threats that lead to harassment, identity theft and fraud. At the same time, Canadian businesses, charities and non-profit groups should not have to bear the burden of unnecessary red tape and costs to comply with the legislation.
The Government supports a balanced approach that protects the interests of consumers while eliminating any unintended consequences for organizations that have legitimate reasons for communicating electronically with Canadians.
For that reason, the Government will ask a parliamentary committee to review the legislation, in keeping with the existing provisions of CASL.