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Canada - Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Canada has not enacted any spam-specific legislation, but is currently examining the need for it, based on the effectiveness of existing measures available in various statutes, including the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and the Criminal Code of Canada. Those statutes include some, although not all, of the measures that are generally available in spam-specific legislation The Competition Bureau can take action on spam that includes information that is false or misleading in a material respect, and both civil and criminal processes are available under the Competition Act. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can address the use or collection of personal information without consent, as well as failure to respect opt-out requests. An application can also be made to the Federal Court of Canada, either by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada or by complainants, for damages arising from a breach of PIPEDA. The Criminal Code of Canada can address spam involving fraud or other illegal activities, and also includes provisions prohibiting the unauthorized use or abuse of computers. Canada, arguably, has an opt-in regime, pursuant to the requirements of PIPEDA, which requires commercial bulk emailers who establish or acquire lists of email addresses to ensure that their recipients have given some form of consent to receive commercial solicitation. Email addresses can only be used for the purpose for which they are collected, and can only be put to secondary uses if the owners of these email addresses consent. While PIPEDA was not designed to address spam, it has, in this way, effectively established an opt-in regime in Canada. Furthermore, PIPEDA requires that unsubscribe functions be operative and respected in such emails. On May 11, 2004, the Government of Canada launched the Anti-Spam Action Plan for Canada and announced the creation of a joint government - private sector task force to combat spam.

On May 17, 2005, the Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry, received the final report of the Task Force entitled Stopping Spam: Creating a Stronger, Safer Internet. The report includes a range of recommendations including more rigorous law enforcement, public education, policy development and legislation.

Competent authority Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada 
Contact person  Email:
112 Kent Street, Place de Ville,
Tower B, 3rd Floor,
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 1H3.
Tel: (613) 995- 8210
Fax:(613) 947- 6850
Relevant legislation in place 
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Updated : 2011-04-04