Canadian Privacy Phase 1

Canada symbolSweeping changes to Canada’s direct marketing landscape go into effect July 1

In Canada there are 27 federal, provincial and territorial privacy statutes that govern the protection of personal information in the private, public and health sectors. Electronic marketing is governed by both Canadian Privacy Statutes and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”). CASL was approved in December 15, 2010 and is currently scheduled to be in force by July 1, 2014. Under CASL it is prohibited to send, or cause or allow to be sent, a commercial electronic message unless the recipient has provided express or implied consent.

The message must also comply with specific content and unsubscribe requirements. The penalties for running afoul of this legislation are considerable, including administrative penalties of up to $1 million per violation for individuals and $10 million for corporations. CASL also gives individuals the right to bring a civil action for alleged violations of CASL and sets forth penalties of up to $200 for each infraction, up to a maximum of $1 million each day for a violation of the provisions addressing unsolicited electronic messages.

Data providers in Canada have been busily preparing for this summer’s rule change. Several major players are actively considering leaving the Canadian market, while others are doubling down and building out very strong data collection practices that keep the data well within the required limitations. There is no question that these changes will affect both the quantity of direct marketing data that is available, as well as its price, particularly after July 1st. For more information about direct marketing limitations in Canada, please contact us.