Feds Fail Canada on CASL

The law of Canada since 2014, Canada’s AntiSpam Legislation was intended to clean up Canada’s digital highways by empowering the owner of any email address to control what messages made it through to the inbox. This control was intended to make the overall economy more efficient. The CRTC has been enforcing CASL with a variety of tools including a fine against one company for $1.5 million.

The private right of action under CASL was due to be effective July 1, 2017. Prior articles on CASL and the PRA can be found here and then going back through the hyperlinks.

This PRA was a key component of Canada’s well-thought out strategy in the cyber world. As was written in the Report of the Task Force on Spam in 2005:

There should be an appropriate private right of action available to persons, both individuals and corporations. There should be meaningful statutory damages available to persons who bring civil action.


With the July 1 date three weeks away, and the prospect of class action litigation against every company not in compliance, companies were finally taking CASL seriously and were sprinting to get Human Resources, Legal, IT and the executive offices working together to remediate the situation. The CASL system was working.



This week, 12 years after that report from its own Task Force, the federal government failed Canadians by derailing its own system. By order in council, the enactment of the PRA has been indefinitely delayed. There is no visibility on when or even if this part of the legislation will become active.

The team at the CRTC must be insulted by this political interference. The CRTC has done an effective job of regulation in this space, with one eye always on the July 1 PRA date as a motivating element. With one administrative pen wave, Minister Navdeep Bains gutted all of its hard work in education, lobbying and system-building.

Minister Bains was under pressure from various self-interested lobbying groups whose members failed to get in compliance, despite having years to do so. His decision to give in and indefinitely delay the enactment of the PRA was an abdication of leadership.

So what’s next?...

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