Fast Facts

Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation generally prohibits companies from:

  • sending commercial electronic messages, to an electronic address, without your consent (permission). This includes emails, social networking accounts and text messages;
  • alteration of transmission data in an electronic message, in the course of a commercial activity, which results in the message being delivered to a different destination without your express consent;
  • installing computer programs, in the course of a commercial activity, without the express consent of the owner or user (e.g., an authorized employee) of the computer system;
  • promoting products or services online using false or misleading representations;
  • collecting personal information by accessing a computer system or electronic device illegally (i.e., in violation of federal law, such as the Criminal Code of Canada); and
  • collecting or using electronic addresses using computer programs without your permission (this is known as 'address harvesting').

There are three government agencies responsible for enforcement of the law. The law allows:

  • The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to issue administrative monetary penalties for violations of the anti-spam law.
  • The Competition Bureau to seek administrative monetary penalties or criminal sanctions under the Competition Act.
  • The Office of the Privacy Commissioner to exercise powers under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

As of June 7, 2017, the sections that deal with the private right of action have been suspended.