LG Cookie Fresh Email Setup by Digitpedia Com (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/8rtADu

LG Cookie Fresh Email Setup by Digitpedia Com (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/8rtADu


The Canadian Anti-Spam Law Panic: Same As It Ever Was

As the Canadian media reports on the panic associated with the new anti-spam law set to take effect next week, consider the following from Macleans titled “Few Companies Prepared for New Privacy Law“:

The new law..says organizations can only collect personal information for a stated reason – and can use it only for that purpose. Among others things, that means a company that supplies a service can’t sell its list of subscribers to another company’s marketing department. Individuals must be informed, and give their consent, before personal information is collected, used or disclosed..But most firms are unaware of the new law.”

The article continues by noting that “there’s confusion over which organizations might be exempt” and that “there is no grandfather clause – all existing customer information needs to be compliant.” The message is similar in a Globe and Mail article titled “Many small firms not ready for privacy rules“, which also notes the possibility of a constitutional challenge. An IT World Canada reiterates that concern in its coverage:

most Canadian organizations are not aware of the [law]. And very few are prepared to comply.
What makes these articles noteworthy is that none involve CASL. Instead, they all date from 2004, when the current private sector privacy law (PIPEDA) was about to take effect. Then, as now, there was ominous warnings about how ill-prepared Canadian business was to address their privacy law obligations. Yet as I noted in my post on complying with the new anti-spam law:

For any organization that already sends commercial electronic messages, they presumably comply with PIPEDA, the private sector privacy law, that requires organizations to obtain user consent, allow users to withdraw their consent, and provide the necessary contact information to do so.  Compliance with the new anti-spam law (CASL) involves much the same obligations. While there are certainly some additional technical requirements and complications (along with tough penalties for failure to comply), the basics of the law involve consent, withdrawal of consent (ie. unsubscribe), and accessible contact information.

While CASL does create some new obligations, what is not new is the claims that business is unaware and unprepared to address their privacy law obligations.

Tags: / / /


  1. Guy Fawkes says:

    What’s the point of this post? To rail on businesses AGAIN?

  2. Harrison Gross says:

    To rail on businesses being a bunch of whiners.

  3. Cordon Blue says:

    All gravy. Enforcement fines is what wakes these coapnies up.
    Per publicly available stats, 50% or more of Canadian businesses don’t have much of a clue about PIPEDA anyhow. CASL will be no different till enforcement starts to smack a few of them in the face. Companies will only wake up after that.

  4. Neil Schwwartzman says:


    You should show some compassion! This law was passed quickly, without consultation, nor ANY associated publicity, websites, or other government initiatives to publicize its existence.

    Lemonade stands are having to spend trillions on expensive legal advice from major firms to become compliant.

    Have a heart.

  5. Media Issues
    The point of this post is to show all the fear mongering that the media is doing around CASL.

  6. Business owners? says:

    Who’s posting these comments
    Do any of you own a business where you need to communicate with customers and don’t want to be at risk of being sued by the government for up to $1,000,000 – or are you just ignorant commenters?

  7. CASL is anti-small business
    This law may “sound” good being “anti-spam”, but it will just harm legit small businesses making a lot of our otherwise successful emails become illegal. The real malware spammers based outside of Canada won’t be stopped by this law, while honest businesses will be severely handicapped.

  8. It appears that a sender cannot contact someone and ask for consent to send commercial emails. Instead, the sender must first have consent. How does one GET consent in the first place if you can’t email someone and ask for consent?

  9. NSW Lawyers says:

    NSW Lawyers
    NSW awyers

  10. This law is STUPID ! It will do nothing to stop the international spammers which account for 95% of the traffic. It will make marketing more difficult for small businesses. Already we have the toughest safety and electrical codes (CSA) in the WORLD, now we have to comply with THis ! How are we supposed to compete, already goods come in across our border that don’t comply with our standards and legit Canadian businesses have to compete with ! This was conceived by a bunch of nimby beaurocrats who don’t have a clue how to make a buck.

  11. Pingback: Canada’s new anti-spam law | boot13