Canadian Anti-Spam Law of 2010: Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC)

On June 30, 2011, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) issued Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-400 pursuant to subsection 64(2) of the Canadian Anti-Spam Law of 2010, which authorizes the Commission to make regulations regarding the form and content of Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs). See Canadian Anti-Spam Law, S.C. 2010, c. 23, §64(2) (Can. 2010). Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-400 included a copy of the draft Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC) and called for comments from the general public. See Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-400, at 1.

On March 28, 2012, the CRTC published Telecom Regulatory Policy CRTC 2012-183. The Commission addressed the comments it had received from the public in response to Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2011-400 and attached the finalized Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC), which it published in the Canada Gazette the same day. See Canada Gazette, Part II, Vol. 146, No. 7 (2012), at 730-32.

Information to be included in Commercial Electronic Messages. To satisfy subsection 6(2) of the Canadian Anti-Spam Law of 2010, any Commercial Electronic Message must include:

  • the name of the sender's business, or the name of the sender if the business does not have a different name;
  • if the message is sent on behalf of another person, the name of that other person's business, or the name of that other person if the business does not have a different name;
  • if the message is sent on behalf of another person, a statement identifying both the sender of the message and the person on whose behalf the message is sent; and
  • the mailing address and either (1) a telephone number, or (2) an email address, or (3) a web address of the sender, or of the person on whose behalf the message is sent if applicable.

See Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC), §2(1) (Can. 2012).

If it is not practicable to include that information in the message, the sender may instead include in the message a clear and prominent link to a website where the recipient of the message may find that information at no cost. See Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC), §2(2) (Can. 2012).

Form of Commercial Electronic Messages. The information mentioned in section 2 of the Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC) must be clear and prominent, and the unsubscribe mechanism required by section 6(2)(c) of the Canadian Anti-Spam Law of 2010 must be ready for use. See Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC), §3 (Can. 2012).

Information to be included in a request for consent. Under the Canadian Anti-Spam Law of 2010, it is illegal to send a Commercial Electronic Message to an electronic address or to install (or cause to be installed) a program on a computer unless the owner of the electronic address or computer previously consented, either orally or in writing, to each of those acts. See Canadian Anti-Spam Law, S.C. 2010, c. 23, § 6-8 (Can. 2010). The Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC) specify that any request for consent must include:

  • the name by which the person seeking consent carries on business, or the name of that person if the business does not have a different name;
  • if consent is requested on behalf of another person, the name of that other person's business, or the name of that other person if the business does not have a different name;
  • if consent is requested on behalf of another person, a statement identifying both the person requesting consent and the person on whose behalf consent is requested;
  • the mailing address and either (1) a telephone number, or (2) an email address, or (3) a web address of the person requesting consent, or of the person on whose behalf consent is requested if applicable; and
  • a statement indicating that consent may be withdrawn at any time.

See Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC), §4 (Can. 2012).

Specified Functions of Computer Programs. It is illegal to install (or cause to be installed) a computer program on another person's computer if the material elements of the program perform any of the functions specified in section 10(5) of the Canadian Anti-Spam Law of 2010 (such as collecting personal information from the computer, interfering with that person's control of the computer, or causing the computer to communicate with others without that person's authorization), unless:

  • those material elements have been brought to the attention of the person from whom consent is requested, separately from any other request for consent; and
  • the person from whom consent is requested acknowledged in writing that they understand and agree that the program performs the specified functions.

See Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC), §5 (Can. 2012); Canadian Anti-Spam Law, S.C. 2010, c. 23, §10(5) (Can. 2010).

Effective date

Section 1 to 4 of the Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC) came into effect on July 1, 2014; section 5 came into effect on January 15, 2015. See Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC), Note to §6 (Can. 2012).