Adam Kardash from Heenan Blaikie LLP in Canada reports that Bill C-28, the Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam bill, received Royal Assent on December 15, 2010.  The centerpiece of the Act are prohibitions aimed at preventing spam, but the law also includes regulations to combat phishing and protect users from online malware.  Specifically, among other things, the legislation would prohibit:

  • sending commercial electronic messages (including emails and text messages) without consent (subject to certain limited exceptions);
  • altering transmission data on email messages; and
  • the installation of computer programs without express consent.

The legislation gives primary enforcement authority to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, which may investigate and levy significant monetary penalties against organizations that send unsolicited commercial electronic messages without consent.  The Act also provides for a private right of action for businesses and consumers.

The Act’s permission-based, largely opt-in approach to consent for commercial electronic messages sets forth a more restrictive model than its U.S. counterpart, the CAN-SPAM Act.

For further information, view Industry Canada’s news release.