On December 15, 2010, Bill C-28, Canada's anti-spam law received Royal Assent. The intent of the legislation is to deter the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam that impact Canadians and Canadian businesses. The legislation contains amendments to the Competition Act that will promote greater truth in online advertising for the benefit of consumers, legitimate businesses, and the economy overall.
The new statute/law will be enforced by three organizations, the Competition Bureau, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. It also includes a private right of action that will allow Canadian consumers and businesses to take civil action against those who violate the legislation.
Role of the Competition Bureau
The Competition Bureau will be able to address more effectively false and misleading representations and deceptive marketing practices in the electronic marketplace, including false or misleading sender or subject matter information, electronic messages, and locator information such as URLs and metadata. The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
Once in force, the amendments to the Competition Act are specifically designed to address false or misleading commercial representations online, much in the same way as it currently does, but with more targeted enforcement tools.
As background, the Bureau has published guidelines relating to deceptive marketing practices that apply to all forms of representations, including those made online and through spam.