The Mikuska Group  

Spam, Spam, Spam! Get ready for new legislation

I attended an informative session recently sponsored by the Canadian Society of Association Executives (Manitoba Chapter) about Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation.

Brian Bowman, partner with Pitblado LLP,  and an expert in privacy and social media law, outlined what the new legislation will mean for organizations who send electronic messages of “commercial character.” He said the rules are changing regarding consent obligations (both express and implied), and senders will be bound to give more and very clear information about themselves including contact details and an easy way for recipients to unsubscribe.

Bowman said the new regulations will include text, sound, voice or image messages, on smartphones as well, and will apply to social media content (Facebook in particular).

The legislation has not yet come into force, but it is expected sometime in the new year. What does that mean for non-profit organizations? Bowman said to avoid penalties, any organization need to pay attention to the following:

  1. Establish whether your messages are commercial electronic messages and are therefore subject to the law
  2. Find out if any exemptions apply
  3. Determine the type of consent needed
  4. If express consent is required, make sure you draft specific language that meets legal requirements

Make sure you are informed, and modify your policies and practices accordingly. Your donors, staff and volunteers will appreciate it.

Julie Mikuska


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