Businesses should not panic over new anti-spam law

Staff writer
January 29, 2013 01:00 AM

On Jan. 24, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce sent out an urgent policy alert asking chambers to complain to the federal government about proposed new anti spam legislation, which they stated takes a "ban-all" approach to commercial electronic messages, and proscribes excessive penalties.

"The Gibsons and District Chamber of Commerce does not concur with this position," said executive director Donna McMahon in a news release. "We asked an independent web consultant ( to review these regulations, and he reached the following conclusions: the Act allows for "implied consent" which means that businesses do not have to get express written consent before sending a message. The requirements include a number of common sense best practices, such as clearly identifying the sender and providing an unsubscribe link. Many of these requirements are already standard business practice for legitimate marketing companies, and are also mandatory under the U.S. Can-Spam Act. ?

The regulations set high maximum penalties (to $1,000,000 for an individual and $10,000,000 for a corporation), but they also state that the penalty is to be non-punitive and must take into consideration factors such as the nature and scope of the violation, the number of past violations, financial benefits accrued from the spam, and ability to pay.

"We see very little here to worry about for legitimate businesses and non-profit agencies engaged in electronic marketing."

McMahon said unfortunately, the Act specifically exempts robo-calls and fax spam, which many people would like to see regulated.

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