Assented to 2010-12-15
An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
1 (1) The following definitions apply in this Act.
- commercial activity
commercial activity means any particular transaction, act or conduct or any regular course of conduct that is of a commercial character, whether or not the person who carries it out does so in the expectation of profit, other than any transaction, act or conduct that is carried out for the purposes of law enforcement, public safety, the protection of Canada, the conduct of international affairs or the defence of Canada. (activité commerciale)
Commission means the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. (Conseil)
- Commissioner of Competition
Commissioner of Competition means the Commissioner of Competition appointed under subsection 7(1) of the Competition Act. (commissaire de la concurrence)
- computer program
computer program has the same meaning as in subsection 342.1(2) of the Criminal Code. (programme d’ordinateur)
- computer system
computer system has the same meaning as in subsection 342.1(2) of the Criminal Code. (ordinateur)
- court of competent jurisdiction
court of competent jurisdiction means the Federal Court or a superior court of a province. (tribunal compétent)
data means signs, signals, symbols or concepts that are being prepared or have been prepared in a form suitable for use in a computer system. (données)
document has the same meaning as in section 487.011 of the Criminal Code. (document)
- electronic address
electronic address means an address used in connection with the transmission of an electronic message to
(a) an electronic mail account;
(b) an instant messaging account;
(c) a telephone account; or
(d) any similar account. (adresse électronique)
- electronic message
electronic message means a message sent by any means of telecommunication, including a text, sound, voice or image message. (message électronique)
person means an individual, partnership, corporation, organization, association, trustee, administrator, executor, liquidator of a succession, receiver or legal representative. (personne)
- Privacy Commissioner
Privacy Commissioner means the Privacy Commissioner appointed under section 53 of the Privacy Act. (Commissaire à la protection de la vie privée)
- telecommunications facility
telecommunications facility means any facility, apparatus or other thing that is used for telecommunications or for any operation directly connected with telecommunications. (installation de télécommunication)
- telecommunications service
telecommunications service means a service, or a feature of a service, that is provided by means of telecommunications facilities, whether the telecommunications service provider owns, leases or has any other interest in or right respecting the telecommunications facilities and any related equipment used to provide the service. (service de télécommunication)
- telecommunications service provider
telecommunications service provider means a person who, independently or as part of a group or association, provides telecommunications services. (télécommunicateur)
- transmission data
transmission data means data that
(a) relates to the telecommunications functions of dialling, routing, addressing or signalling;
(b) either is transmitted to identify, activate or configure an apparatus or device, including a computer program, in order to establish or maintain a communication, or is generated during the creation, transmission or reception of a communication and identifies or purports to identify the type, direction, date, time, duration, size, origin, destination or termination of the communication; and
(c) does not reveal the substance, meaning or purpose of the communication. (données de transmission)
Marginal note:Meaning of commercial electronic message
(2) For the purposes of this Act, a commercial electronic message is an electronic message that, having regard to the content of the message, the hyperlinks in the message to content on a website or other database, or the contact information contained in the message, it would be reasonable to conclude has as its purpose, or one of its purposes, to encourage participation in a commercial activity, including an electronic message that
(a) offers to purchase, sell, barter or lease a product, goods, a service, land or an interest or right in land;
(b) offers to provide a business, investment or gaming opportunity;
(c) advertises or promotes anything referred to in paragraph (a) or (b); or
(d) promotes a person, including the public image of a person, as being a person who does anything referred to in any of paragraphs (a) to (c), or who intends to do so.
Marginal note:Other commercial electronic message
(3) An electronic message that contains a request for consent to send a message described in subsection (2) is also considered to be a commercial electronic message.
(4) An electronic message described in subsection (2) or (3) that is sent for the purposes of law enforcement, public safety, the protection of Canada, the conduct of international affairs or the defence of Canada is not considered to be a commercial electronic message.
Marginal note:Person to whom a message is sent
(5) For the purposes of this Act, a reference to the person to whom an electronic message is sent means the holder of the account associated with the electronic address to which the message is sent, as well as any person who it is reasonable to believe is or might be authorized by the account holder to use the electronic address.
Conflict of Provisions
Marginal note:Precedence of this Act
2 In the event of a conflict between a provision of this Act and a provision of Part 1 of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, the provision of this Act operates despite the provision of that Part, to the extent of the conflict.
Marginal note:Purpose of Act
3 The purpose of this Act is to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating commercial conduct that discourages the use of electronic means to carry out commercial activities, because that conduct
(a) impairs the availability, reliability, efficiency and optimal use of electronic means to carry out commercial activities;
(b) imposes additional costs on businesses and consumers;
(c) compromises privacy and the security of confidential information; and
(d) undermines the confidence of Canadians in the use of electronic means of communication to carry out their commercial activities in Canada and abroad.
Marginal note:Act binding on certain agents
4 This Act is binding on any corporation that is expressly declared by or under any Act of Parliament or of the legislature of a province to be an agent of Her Majesty, when the corporation is acting as such in the course of any commercial activity.
Marginal note:Broadcasting excluded
- 2010, c. 23, s. 5
- 2023, c. 8, s. 32
Requirements and Prohibitions
Marginal note:Unsolicited electronic messages
6 (1) It is prohibited to send or cause or permit to be sent to an electronic address a commercial electronic message unless
(a) the person to whom the message is sent has consented to receiving it, whether the consent is express or implied; and
(b) the message complies with subsection (2).
Marginal note:Contents of message
(2) The message must be in a form that conforms to the prescribed requirements and must
(a) set out prescribed information that identifies the person who sent the message and the person — if different — on whose behalf it is sent;
(b) set out information enabling the person to whom the message is sent to readily contact one of the persons referred to in paragraph (a); and
(c) set out an unsubscribe mechanism in accordance with subsection 11(1).
Marginal note:Period of validity of contact information
(3) The person who sends the commercial electronic message and the person — if different — on whose behalf the commercial electronic message is sent must ensure that the contact information referred to in paragraph (2)(b) is valid for a minimum of 60 days after the message has been sent.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (1)
(a) an electronic message is considered to have been sent once its transmission has been initiated; and
(b) it is immaterial whether the electronic address to which an electronic message is sent exists or whether an electronic message reaches its intended destination.
(5) This section does not apply to a commercial electronic message
(a) that is sent by or on behalf of an individual to another individual with whom they have a personal or family relationship, as defined in the regulations;
(b) that is sent to a person who is engaged in a commercial activity and consists solely of an inquiry or application related to that activity; or
(c) that is of a class, or is sent in circumstances, specified in the regulations.
(6) Paragraph (1)(a) does not apply to a commercial electronic message that solely
(a) provides a quote or estimate for the supply of a product, goods, a service, land or an interest or right in land, if the quote or estimate was requested by the person to whom the message is sent;
(b) facilitates, completes or confirms a commercial transaction that the person to whom the message is sent previously agreed to enter into with the person who sent the message or the person — if different — on whose behalf it is sent;
(c) provides warranty information, product recall information or safety or security information about a product, goods or a service that the person to whom the message is sent uses, has used or has purchased;
(d) provides notification of factual information about
(i) the ongoing use or ongoing purchase by the person to whom the message is sent of a product, goods or a service offered under a subscription, membership, account, loan or similar relationship by the person who sent the message or the person — if different — on whose behalf it is sent, or
(ii) the ongoing subscription, membership, account, loan or similar relationship of the person to whom the message is sent;
(e) provides information directly related to an employment relationship or related benefit plan in which the person to whom the message is sent is currently involved, is currently participating or is currently enrolled;
(f) delivers a product, goods or a service, including product updates or upgrades, that the person to whom the message is sent is entitled to receive under the terms of a transaction that they have previously entered into with the person who sent the message or the person — if different — on whose behalf it is sent; or
(g) communicates for a purpose specified in the regulations.
(7) This section does not apply to a telecommunications service provider merely because the service provider provides a telecommunications service that enables the transmission of the message.
(7.1) This section does not apply to a commercial electronic message that is sent or caused or permitted to be sent by an online undertaking, as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Broadcasting Act, if
(a) the person to whom the message is sent has expressly or implicitly consented to the transmission of a program, as defined in that subsection, from that online undertaking to an electronic address; and
(b) the message is or forms part of that program or is sent in the course of the transmission of that program to the electronic address to which that program is transmitted.
(8) This section does not apply to a commercial electronic message
(a) that is, in whole or in part, an interactive two-way voice communication between individuals;
(b) that is sent by means of a facsimile to a telephone account; or
(c) that is a voice recording sent to a telephone account.
- 2010, c. 23, s. 6
- 2023, c. 8, s. 33
Marginal note:Altering transmission data
7 (1) It is prohibited, in the course of a commercial activity, to alter or cause to be altered the transmission data in an electronic message so that the message is delivered to a destination other than or in addition to that specified by the sender, unless
(a) the alteration is made with the express consent of the sender or the person to whom the message is sent, and the person altering or causing to be altered the data complies with subsection 11(4); or
(b) the alteration is made in accordance with a court order.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply if the alteration is made by a telecommunications service provider for the purposes of network management.
Marginal note:Installation of computer program
8 (1) A person must not, in the course of a commercial activity, install or cause to be installed a computer program on any other person’s computer system or, having so installed or caused to be installed a computer program, cause an electronic message to be sent from that computer system, unless
(a) the person has obtained the express consent of the owner or an authorized user of the computer system and complies with subsection 11(5); or
(b) the person is acting in accordance with a court order.
(2) A person contravenes subsection (1) only if the computer system is located in Canada at the relevant time or if the person either is in Canada at the relevant time or is acting under the direction of a person who is in Canada at the time when they give the directions.
- Date modified: