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(Note: There have been changes to the legislature since this article was published. Please go here for an update.)

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, or CASL, came into force in July of 2014. Effectively, sending spam[1] is a violation of the law.

You may have received spam if you can answer “no” to any of the following questions:

  1. Did you consent to the sender contacting you?
  2. Are you easily able to unsubscribe?
  3. Did the sender identify themselves and provide you with their contact information?

If you received unwanted spam, you have a number of legal rights and options to hold spammers accountable.

First, you can contact the Spam Reporting Centre. Spam that is reported here will be investigated by the Competition Bureau (CRTC) and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, who may issue a notice of violation or an undertaking against the sender.

Second, you can contact legal counsel. CASL’s provisions that provide private rights of action are coming into force on July 1, 2017. Individuals will be able to sue organizations and their officers, directors, and agents for violations of CASL. Pursuant to the private rights of action, individuals may recover their damages, losses or costs incurred as a result of certain CASL violations. Additionally, the private rights of action provide for significant statutory damages of up to $1 million with respect to each day on which a prescribed improper activity occurred without requiring proof of actual damages or costs. Given the costs of pursuing individual litigation, claims such as CASL violations are economically advantageous to pursue as a class action.

To learn more about your legal rights, contact Siskinds LLP’s consumer law group.  With offices in Toronto and London, Ontario, and affiliate offices in Québec City and Montreal, Québec, Siskinds LLP is a leading Canadian class action law firm working to protect consumer rights and has a track record of success in recovering compensation for persons affected by unlawful business and commercial activities.

[1] Unwanted electronic communications, unsolicited commercial messages, unauthorized computer programs, malware and spyware are different types of improper electronic communications and illicit interferences with the transmission data that are widely known as spam.

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