CASL Private Right of Action Suspended

Authored by Philip Milley.

We previously discussed the important changes to Canada’s anti-spam regime that are due to be introduced on July 1, 2017. Specifically, we reported that individual complainants will be permitted a private right of action pursuant to s. 47 and 48 of CASL, which would allow individuals to initiate court proceedings to seek redress for violations of CASL. This means is that an organization could face a civil law suit (i.e., be sued) by an individual for a violation of the legislation in addition to facing administrative fines from the CRTC for the same violation. A more detailed discussion of the changes can be reviewed here.

On June 7, 2017 the federal government announced that it is suspending the implementation of these provisions, which would have introduced the private right of action. The announcement can be reviewed here. What this means is that the status quo respecting CASL enforcement will be maintained. That is, organizations will remain at risk of fines from the CRTC for violations of the CASL legislation, however, no civil lawsuit will be available to individuals. What is left unclear is when (or even whether) the private right of action provisions will be introduced at sometime in the future.

Please be aware that these changes do not affect the implementation of the new consent provisions discussed here. So, on July 1, 2017 new implied consent rules will apply.

Noteworthy is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Every organization’s circumstances are unique. Before acting on the basis of information contained in this blog, readers should consult with a qualified lawyer for advice specific to their situation.