Mobile spam by Christiaan Colen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Mobile spam by Christiaan Colen (CC BY-SA 2.0)


Government Response Suggests No Appetite for Canadian Anti-Spam Law Reform

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.


  1. CASL could have saved email marketing as an option for business. Enforcement is the key and we have hardly heard a peep from CRTC since Minister Bains postponed the private right of action last June 7th. Email will continue to slip until it finds it’s place alongside telemarketing. People will stop using email and find more efficient, less polluted ways to communicate. CASL and DoNotCall – thumbsucker laws that make no difference. What a shame.

  2. As long as I’m still getting calls for Duct Cleaning and emails and phone calls from the Windows security team, any pretense that anti-spam or phone telemarketing are being regulated is a joke.
    Further, I’m getting emails, phone calls and paper mail from the *Ontario* PC party. It seems that the *Federal* PC party shared their list. I thought that was illegal. My question is really, how can we force the anti-spam laws to apply to political parties? Only then, I think, will we actually make progress.

  3. Political parties and candidates do not require consent.

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