Anti-Spam Law in Limbo as Lobby Groups Seek New Exceptions

Some of the suggested changes make sense and have garnered near-universal support.  The proposed regulations adopted a restrictive approach to obtaining consent, requiring that it be “in writing.” Many submissions from business and consumer groups argue this is unnecessary since electronic or verbal consents should be equally valid.

Several business groups have also noted that the form requirements on commercial electronic messages require a website address, yet many businesses are still not online. Moreover, the telecom industry points to short code messaging that already require consent and do not fit neatly into the anti-spam form requirements.

Yet for every legitimate regulatory concern, there seems to be a group that wants to re-open the carefully crafted legislative compromise. For example, Advocis, the Financial Advisors Association of Canada, emphasizes the value of financial literacy in an effort to argue that rules on referrals and consent should contain specific exceptions for financial advisors.

The Entertainment Software Association of Canada calls for an astonishing seven new exceptions, including watering down consent requirements for the installation of computer programs. This particular issue was the subject of extensive debate during committee hearings with the ESAC position previously rejected by the government and opposition MPs.

Other submissions call on the government to eliminate consent requirements altogether for small and startup businesses, suggesting that businesses be permitted to send thousands of messages each year without any need for prior consent.

The relentless campaign against the legislation has proven effective as it appears virtually certain that the government will now delay its implementation. Industry Minister Christian Paradis has remained silent on the issue, but last week the Canadian Marketing Association told its members that further consultations are now planned and that the law will not take effect until the middle of 2012 at the earliest.

It is important to get the regulations right so that Canadians are better protected from online threats and business does not grind to a halt. But establishing new consent requirements or requiring changes to some online business methods are the point of the law, not something to be eviscerated through the fine print of regulation.


  1. >various business groups mounted a spirited attack against the bill during the legislative process

    So as long as it business groups the govelistens but if Canadian citizen have issues with a certain bill all of a sudden its good for use and we should just move along.

  2. HMMMM
    A couple small piss-ant groups such as ESAC can hold up this legislation?!?!?! With C-11 the government refuses to listen to dozens of official bodies, representing millions of Canadians, including the Retail Council of Canada. End User, it’s not just private citizens that have issues with C-11, they’re ignoring EVERYONE!!

    The whole thing reeks of collusion and conspiracy.

  3. Adam Guerbuez says:

    Great News, Thanks for the great report, I personally thank the ESAC and others involved in the stall tactics, It is entertaining to watch it all unfold this way.
    Canadians keep their marketing hands strong.

  4. Russell McOrmond says:

    ESAC’s lack of respect
    It is amazing how much ESAC can whine about minor infringements of their rights given how little respect they offer the property and other rights of everyone else.

    I hope the government eventually reigns in this rogue association, regulating their members appropriately to protect the property, privacy and other rights of Canadians.

  5. …of Canada
    Let’s list here who is behind ESAC:

    Electronic Arts
    Solutions 2 Go
    Warner Bros

    A very Canadian selection. Why are they allowed to call themselves like that?