Canadian Anti-Spam Law of 2010: Introduction and Abbreviation
On December 15, 2010, Canadian Bill C-28 received the "Royal Assent" (granted by the Governor General, or a deputy, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II) that is required in order for a bill to become law under Canada's constitutional monarchy. The Bill was introduced on May 25, 2010 by the Honorable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry. See Library of Parliament Legislative Summary, Pub. No. 40-3-C28-E (Feb. 4, 2011), at 1.
Bill C-28 bears a long and unwieldy title: it is called "An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act."
An early version of the Bill provided for a short title: the "Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act," which was abbreviated as "FISA" by the Library of Parliament in its early legislative summaries. See Library of Parliament Legislative Summary, Pub. No. 40-3-C28-E (Feb. 4, 2011), at 1. A similar bill from a previous parliamentary session (C-27) bore the short title: the "Electronic Commerce Protection Act" or "ECPA." See id.
However, the Canadian House of Commons removed the short title from Bill C-28, and the Bill passed without it. See Library of Parliament Legislative Summary, Pub. No. 40-3-C28-E (Feb. 4, 2011), at 1. The Canadian Department of Justice refers to the Act under its long title, alphabetizing it under "E" (for "Efficiency") in its Table of Public Statutes and Responsible Ministers, a treatment that has been picked up by the Canadian Legal Information Institute in its Consolidated Statutes of Canada.
Although references to the old short title for Bill C-28 still appear, together with the abbreviation "FISA," Canada's Department of Industry has begun referring to the enacted Bill as Canada's Anti-Spam Law ("CASL"). See Industry Canada Website: Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (referring also to the old short title for the Bill); Library of Parliament Legislative Summary, Pub. No. 40-3-C28-E (Feb. 4, 2011), at 1 (referring to the Bill as "FISA").
The developing usage among legal practitioners (see caslconsulting.com) and Canadian government officials is to refer to the enacted Bill as CASL, and we will follow this usage. However, readers should be aware that other abbreviations and short titles may continue to be used.