Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will continue without a private right of action for the time being. On June 7, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development announced that the pending private right of action under CASL would be indefinitely delayed. In a nod to concerns expressed by covered entities, the Minister wrote, “Canadians deserve to be protected from spam and other electronic threats so that they can have confidence in digital technology. At the same time, businesses, charities, and other non-profit groups should have reasonable ways to communicate electronically with Canadians. We have listened to the concerns of stakeholders and are committed to striking the right balance.” As we wrote prior to the July 1, 2014, implementation of parts of the law, the private right of action was originally set for a delayed effective date of July 1, 2017, in order to give covered entities three years to better understand the law before being exposed to potentially massive class actions. As originally passed, CASL would have given individuals the right to bring an action for damages and a statutory penalty of $200 per violation (not to exceed $1,000,000 for each day on which an offence occurred).
Meanwhile, another delayed provision will still take effect on July 1, 2017, as originally planned. Specifically, the three-year grace period for relying on implied consent in cases of existing business relationships will close at the end of June. Beginning July 1, covered entities must obtain express consent to send commercial electronic messages to a recipient, even if the sender has an existing business relationship with the recipient that previously included commercial electronic messages.
TIP: While the private right of action will not be moving forward, companies should keep in mind the close of the business relationship exception on July 1, 2017.