I Spam, You Spam, We All Spam

Law | BCBusiness

New legislation intended to stop spamming will catch most legitimate businesses in its net and you’ve got just a couple of months to get ready for it

Canada’s anti-spam legislation takes effect July 1, and if you thought it doesn’t affect you, think again. The wide-ranging law covers all commercial electronic messages: that could mean any e-mail, text, tweet or Facebook message that is business-related.
“That’s the irony of the legislation,” says Chris Bennett, a partner with Davis LLP in Vancouver: “It’s intended to fight this nasty spam problem and the nasty spam problem is not coming from all of the legitimate businesses that are going to be seriously affected by the legislation.”
And here’s the catch 22: as of July 1 you’ll need permission before sending anyone a message that might be deemed commercial in intent, and also as of that date, it will be illegal to contact anyone by text, e-mail or social media asking them for permission.
“So now’s the time to get your compliance program in place because you’re really running out of time to do it,” says Bennett. “And you don’t want to mess this one up,” he adds. The penalties are substantial: up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for organizations.
Davis LLP offers an overview of the new law, including a sample compliance plan. One of the first steps is to compile a comprehensive inventory of all contacts, and assess which ones will require consent once the law takes effect. The list will have to be kept current and updated regularly.
“It’s going to be a lot of work to comply with this,” says Bennett, “and honestly I don’t think it’s going to solve the problem.”