Here’s some help to understand anti-spam laws

Email inboxes and cell phones are overflowing with offers for cheap drugs, friendship queries from unknown people and cheap watches, handbags and more.

Spam accounts for most of the Internet traffic in Canada. Any electronic message whether it is an email, text message or app that is unwanted or used as a vehicle to deliver malicious code like spyware or viruses is spam.

July 1, 2014 marked the implementation date for Canada’s new anti-spam law. While New Democrats applaud these steps to protect consumers, legitimate businesses are wondering if their activity will be captured by this new law and how they should comply.

For many small and mediumsized businesses and non-governmental organizations, the new law and its regulations are complex and their obligations are not immediately apparent.

Without clear guidelines that help them understand those obligations, many are understandably afraid they may inadvertently trigger a financial penalty.

So they are responding with a flood of emails, asking their customers to provide explicit consent for them to continue emailing them with information, offers or questionnaires. Sometimes they are asking for consent more than once, leaving consumers wondering if the multiple requests for consent are actually the spam the legislation was designed to prevent.

There are some resources for small businesses and non-governmental organizations to help them understand their obligations under this new legislation.

The Canadian Radiotelevision and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is the one of the main agencies responsible under the new legislation and they have provided a number of resources.

To view a video of a detailed presentation on the anti-spam law, go to the following link: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/com500/info.htm.

To find out more about what constitutes an electronic message: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/com500/infograph1.htm To know more about the guidelines on the use of toggling as a means of obtaining express consent under Canada’s anti-spam legislation: http://www.crtc. gc.ca/eng/archive/2012/2012-549. htm To know more about the guidelines on the interpretation of the Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC): http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2012/2012-548.htm I hope that these resources will help you gain a better understanding of what steps your organization must take in order to comply with Canada’s antispam law. Should you have any further questions, please contact the CRTC at 1-877-249-CRTC (2782).