Canadian Anti-Spam Law of 2010: Private Right of Action

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Clauses 47-55 of the Canadian Anti-Spam Law of 2010 set forth the parameters for a private right of action against individuals or organizations that violate the Law.

This private right of action is available not only for violations of Clauses 6-9 of the Law (involving the core requirements of message content and "opt-in" consent, as well as the provisions relating to message redirection and software installation), but also for violations of the Law's amendments to the Competition Act (Clause 77 of the Law) and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act ("PIPEDA") (Clause 82 of the Law). These amendments prohibit:

  1. false or misleading information in sender identification or subject line, materially false or misleading message content, and false or misleading locator information (Competition Act § 74.011);
  2. obtaining an "electronic address" through the use of data mining or automated crawling (PIPEDA § 7.1(2)); and
  3. obtaining personal information through unauthorized access of a computer system (PIPEDA § 7.1(3)).

Compensatory damages may be supplemented with statutory damages of up to $1,000,000 per day. See Canadian Anti-Spam Law, S.C. 2010, c. 23, § 51 (Can. 2010).

For further discussion of the private right of action, see Library of Parliament Legislative Summary, Pub. No. 40-3-C28-E (Feb. 4, 2011), at 12-13.