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Private Right of Action Suspended for Anti-Spam Laws

On June 2, 2017, the Federal Government unexpectedly issued an Order in Council to suspend the Coming into Force date of the sections of Canada's Anti-spam Law (CASL) which would have provided individuals with a private right of action for violations of the Act.   

The private right of action, originally scheduled to come into force on July 1, 2017, would have allowed individuals affected by a contravention CASL to bring an action seeking their actual loss or damages, and a penalty of $200 for each contravention, not to exceed $1 million for any day on which a contravention took place. These provisions were expected to spawn numerous class action lawsuits. 

The government stated that suspending the private right of action would promote legal certainty for numerous stakeholders claiming to experience difficulties in interpreting several provisions of the Act while being exposed to litigation risk. It is expected that a parliamentary committee will review the impact of the CASL provisions, but it is unknown whether the private right of action will be brought into force at a later time. 

Although businesses no longer face the prospect of CASL related class actions, the broader legislation remains in force. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) still has the power to enforce CASL via an administrative monetary penalty of up to $10 million.

For more information on CASL and how it enforced by the CRTC click on the links below: 

http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/internet/anti.htm

http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home