Anti-Spam Regulations Draw Critical Comment

The draft regulations under the anti-spam legislation have attracted a lot of comments, most them negative. See this article by Lorne Salzman and Barry Sookman for a detailed summary.

In essence, the common theme is that the legislation and draft regs will be a compliance burden on business and charities, and the regulations don’t do anything to temper that.

From the article:

Unless the proposed regulations are reformulated, many worry that CASL will impede rather than facilitate e-commerce. It will hurt small and large businesses, cause significant economic harm and stifle innovation in the use of electronic messaging systems. It will hinder investment and job creation and drive new and emerging businesses to locate outside of Canada. Its red tape will be costly and inefficient to comply with.

I agree with that sentiment. The fundamental problem is the approach taken by the very lengthy and detailed legislation. Instead of focusing it’s effect on what most of us would call spammers, it focuses on a very broad definition of spam. That definition includes email and other electronic communication that most of us would not consider to be spam. Which means that every business and organization in Canada has to pay attention to this legislation and take efforts to comply with the detailed requirements, or face the possibility of massive fines.

There is not, for example, a volume threshold. So 1 email sent to 1 person can be considered spam.

It would have been much less invasive, for example, if it allowed an opt-out process, and made it an offense to not follow that request. If the sender is a legitimate business or organization, it would follow that request. And most people would be satisfied to know that business X was not able to contact them again. 

In my view the regulations need to somehow make the law less intrusive, and less of a burden.

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