The criticism against Canada’s anti-spam legislation extends beyond absurd claims about restrictions involving family and personal relationships. Indeed, much of the discussion has focused on the impact of the law on small and medium sized businesses. Barry Sookman catalogs a wide range of supposed concerns, most of which appear to envision a world in which the only way for a new business to develop a customer base is to obtain marketing lists and send unsolicited commercial emails to potential customers.
It is true that the starting point of the law is that businesses must have consent before sending commercial emails. Canada is moving to an opt-in world that gives consumers greater control over their in-boxes and will ultimately provide businesses with higher quality lists of people who genuinely want to receive their messages. Notwithstanding the default requirement for opt-in consent, however, the law contains numerous exceptions that are available to businesses of all sizes and which allow small and medium sized businesses to engage in active (and likely more effective) email campaigns. The exceptions include: