Member Briefing: CASL Private Right of Action Suspended
 
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Canadian Marketing Association

Championing Marketing: Advocacy, Compliance & Self-Regulation

Member Briefing

Member Briefing

Developments impacting marketing in Canada

Government Responds to CMA with Suspension of CASL Private Right of Action

CMA is pleased to inform Members and the marketing community that the Federal Minister of Innovation, Science & Economic Development today announced that the Private Right of Action (PRA) provision of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) has been indefinitely suspended and will not take effect as scheduled on July 1, 2017.


The PRA would have allowed recipients of an offending commercial electronic message to seek court ordered "compensation in an amount equal to the actual loss or damage suffered or expenses incurred;" and “up to $200 for each contravention of that provision, not exceeding $1,000,000 for each day on which a contravention occurred.” It was anticipated that the PRA could provide fertile ground for class action lawsuits, especially given the statutory damages allowed for under the law.


The Canadian Marketing Association spearheaded a business coalition with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to communicate with government policy-makers the widespread concern about the anticipated negative impacts of the PRA. Over the past several years, CMA has created a series of submissions and led numerous meetings with officials and the Minister’s office in persuading the Minister to act on this matter today.


“CMA believes that the PRA is unnecessary given that Canadian consumers are already well-protected from spam by the three regulators tasked with enforcing CASL,” stated Wally Hill, CMA’s VP of Government & Consumer Affairs. “The Government has made the right decision by indefinitely suspending the PRA provision which would have created a competitive disadvantage for Canadian businesses engaged in digital marketing and eCommerce. CMA looks forward to participating in the future parliamentary review of CASL.”


The PRA announcement is good news; however, CASL compliance should remain a key priority for CMA Members in terms of their electronic messaging campaigns. With the upcoming July 1 expiry of the 3-year transitional provisions for implied consents from the pre-CASL era, Members have three weeks for any final efforts to renew the dated consent from these customers.

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