CWTA welcomes parliamentary report recommending changes to Canada’s anti-spam legislation

Ottawa, January 15, 2018 – In 2014 Federal legislation targeting harmful electronic communications and spam came into force – Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, or “CASL”. While worthy in its intent, the legislation was, in the opinion of many, overly-broad, lacking in clarity, and created undue burdens on well-intentioned businesses and organizations who use electronic messaging responsibly and for legitimate purposes. In December of 2017 the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry Science and Technology completed its review of CASL and published its findings in its report entitled “Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation: Clarifications Are In Order” (“Committee Report”).

The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (“CWTA”) is pleased that the Committee Report addresses many of the issues raised by CWTA in its submissions to the Committee in November 2017 (see http://bit.ly/2qQbfBR ). These include the need to clarify key terms and provisions to ensure that CASL and its regulations are clear and understandable, are not overly broad, and do not create unintended costs of compliance. The Committee also recommended that any implementation of the private right of action, which was suspended by the Government in 2017, should be further studied only after the recommended changes and clarifications to CASL are made. As part of this study it should be considered, if the private right of action is necessary, whether an award of damages should be based on proof of actual harm. Finally, the Committee agreed that the CRTC should be more transparent regarding its methods, investigations and determination of penalties. The complete Committee Report can be found at http://bit.ly/2EvOHs1 .

CWTA believes the vast majority of Canadian businesses, stakeholders and organizations are well-intentioned and use electronic messaging responsibly. While CWTA supports the purpose of CASL, which is to foster Canadians’ confidence in electronic commerce by targeting malicious electronic messages and spam, we agree with the House Standing Committee that changes must be made to CASL to ensure that it meets its intended purpose without being overly broad, causing uncertainty and creating unintended compliance costs. Enacting the recommendations published by the House Standing Committee would be an excellent step in that direction.