The government released its response to the House of Commons study on Canada’s anti-spam law this week and while one report suggested that reforms are coming, the reality is that there appears to be little appetite for significant change. I wrote about the law’s effectiveness and appeared before the committee as part of the study. The committee report stopped short of calling for an anti-spam law overhaul, instead recommending clarifications of several provisions in the law.
The response acknowledges the areas of potential clarification, but rather than “agreeing” with the committee (as the response does with several other recommendations), it merely “notes” the concerns:
The government has noted the Committee’s concerns that the Act and its regulations require clarifications to reduce the costs of compliance and better focus enforcement and that a number of witnesses echoed the concernd raises about perceived ambiguities in the interpretation of certain provisions of the Act.
That statement is a far cry from agreeing to reform the law. Instead, the government says it will work to find ways to improve the law:
The government recognizes that the more explicit the legislation and its obligations are, the more effective the Act will be. We also intend to work closely with stakeholders to identify ways to improve the areas that are the object of the Committee’s recommendations. Clear obligations support both senders and consumers, and it the government’s aim that the CASL be as clear as possible while remaining adaptable and neutral to technological developments.
The government is open to other recommendations: considering changing the name of the law, increasing education, and enhancing information sharing. However, the response does not suggest there is much urgency and any reforms will also consider implementing the now-delayed private right of action. Given the current public concern with misuse of personal information, it seems unlikely there will be significant reforms to the anti-spam in the near future.