After a delay of almost three years, the Government of Canada yesterday finally announced the date when the various provisions of Canada’s anti-spam and anti-cookie legislation will come into force.

The legislation, with the cumbersome title An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act, and informally referred to as the Canadian Anti-Spam Law, or “CASL”, received Royal Assent on December 15, 2010, which means that the law has been passed but not yet entered into force since that date.

According to the Coming Into Force Order, CASL will effectively be rolled out in the following three stages:

  • On July 1, 2014, the rules regulating the sending of commercial electronic messages, will come into force.
  • On January 15, 2015, the rules regulating the unsolicited installation of computer programs or software (including cookies) will come into force.
  • Finally, on July 1, 2017, the provisions providing for a private right of action will come into force.

The government also published yesterday the final Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations.  The Regulations are significant in that they set forth, among other things, messages that will be excluded from the consent requirements and messages that will be exempt from the consent and form requirements of the law, and are in addition the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission's Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC) which were finalized in March 2012.

In their announcement, Industry Canada declared that “Canada's anti-spam law will deter the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam, such as identity theft, phishing and spyware, from occurring in Canada and will help drive out spammers.”