Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada has announced that the Canadian government is suspending indefinitely the Private Right of Action (PRA) provision of the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), “in response to broad-based concerns raised by businesses, charities and the not-for-profit sector.” The provision was slated to go into effect on July 1 of this year.
“Canadians deserve to be protected from spam and other electronic threats so that they can have confidence in digital technology,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, in an official statement. “At the same time, businesses, charities and other non-profit groups should have reasonable ways to communicate electronically with Canadians. We have listened to the concerns of stakeholders and are committed to striking the right balance.”
Under the PRA, any recipient of a commercial electronic message (CEM), including emails, text messages, instant messages and direct messages on social media that encourage commercial activity, who had not given prior consent to receive it would have been able to pursue legal action against the individual sender, at $200 a message.
“Canadians deserve an effective law that protects them from spam and other electronic threats that lead to harassment, identity theft and fraud,” said Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada in its official announcement. “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 will ask a parliamentary committee to review the legislation, in keeping with the existing provisions of CASL.”
CASL, which went into effect in July 2014, remains in place, which means the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) still has the power to levy fines from $1 million to $10 million on businesses that are not in compliance with the law.
The full text of the law can be found here and the CRTC has posted FAQs here. All marketers with Canadian prospects and clients are encouraged to speak with an attorney for any individual questions relating to CASL.