Cross Country Checkup

What do you think about Canada's new anti-spam legislation?

Fighting spam: A new law came into effect last week with heavy fines for businesses and charities who send emails, texts or even social media messages to Canadians without consent. Some say the law is too harsh. What do you think? When companies ask if they can send you stuff, do you click to consent? If you run a business...
Listen to the full episode1:53:00

Fighting spam: A new law came into effect last week with heavy fines for businesses and charities who send emails, texts or even social media messages to Canadians without consent. Some say the law is too harsh. What do you think? When companies ask if they can send you stuff, do you click to consent? If you run a business or a charity how is the new anti-spam law affecting you?

With guest host Susan McReynolds


Guests & Links      Twitter & E-Mail       Download mp3 (right click, choose 'Save Target As')    



Introduction

Businesses, charities and organizaions across the country have been bracing themselves for a new law aimed at stemming the tide of unwanted emails, text messages - and even social media messages - that flood our in-boxes every day.

The federal government's Canadian Anti-Spam Law has been about ten years in the making. And on July 1st it took effect.

From now on Canadian companies - and even individuals - won't be allowed to send emails for commercial purposes in many circumstances unless the recipient has already agreed to receive the information.

The law covers all forms of electronic messaging - except phone calls, voicemail and faxes - that have any kind of commercial purpose. From big box stores and mail order companies to local fitness instructors and art studios and sports associations. If you are emailing fundraising notices for a new hockey rink or to send the school band on a cross country tour, you too need to pay attention to the new guidelines.

The fines for breaking the law are hefty - Up to a million dollars for individuals and up to 10 million dollars for businesses.

Some people think the fines - and the new regulations - are simply too harsh. While the law applies to any company, local or international, that emails Canadians, some argue that it puts Canadian companies at a disadvantage because the burden is higher in Canada than elsewhere.

Others are thrilled that the law - at least in theory - gives them greater control over whose messages they can chose to receive... or disallow.

Somewhat ironically, our inboxes have been filling up even more than usual with messages from companies - large and small - asking us if we want to stay on their email lists. And requesting explicitly - or sometimes subtly - for us to consent to keep receiving stuff from them.

Today, we'd love to know what you think? How did you respond to the requests you received asking for your consent to keep getting emails from businesses and other listserves? Did you consioder each request or simply ignore them all or delete them into oblivion?

Last year, 63 per cent of the emails Canadians received were spam. How bothered are you by spam? Do you think the new law will make a difference to your inbox? What tools are you already using to control unwanted electronic information?

If you are a business or if you run any organization or enterprise that has been affected by the new anti-spam law we would love to hear from you.

Our question today: What do you think of the new anti-spam law?

I'm Susan McReynolds sitting in for Rex Murphy ...on CBC Radio One ...and on Sirius XM, satellite radio channel 169 ...this is Cross Country Checkup.


Guests




     
  • Ryan Black
    Lawyer with the firm McMillan LLP of Vancouver and co-writer of "Internet Law Essentials: Canada's Anti-Spam Law"



  •  
  • Conrad Richter
    President Richters Herbs in Goodwood, Ontario who have been shipping plants and seeds across Canada and the US for more than forty years.



  •  
  • Kimberley Cunnington-Taylor
    Lawyer with the firm Nelligan O'Brien Payne



  •  
  • Clive Thompson
    Contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, columnist for Wired and author of the book Smarter Than You Think
    Twitter: @pomeranian99



  •  

Links


CRTC


CBC.ca


Globe and Mail


Toronto Star


Huffington Post


Financial Post


Twitter & E-Mail


Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.