The Canadian government has suspended the CASL private right of action that was to have come into force on July 1. The private right of action (most likely in the form of class actions) would have allowed people to sue anyone for sending spam. Or more accurately for those who violated the technical provisions of CASL.
This is a welcome move. But while we can breathe a sigh of relief that this remedy is gone, CASL still remains in force and must be complied with.
The government’s press release said:
Canadians deserve an effective law that protects them from spam and other electronic threats that lead to harassment, identity theft and fraud. At the same time, Canadian businesses, charities and non-profit groups should not have to bear the burden of unnecessary red tape and costs to comply with the legislation.
The Government supports a balanced approach that protects the interests of consumers while eliminating any unintended consequences for organizations that have legitimate reasons for communicating electronically with Canadians.
For that reason, the Government will ask a parliamentary committee to review the legislation, in keeping with the existing provisions of CASL.
There is no indication that the CRTC will lighten up its enforcement against those who try to comply with the spirit of the legislation, but can’t get the technical details right.
We don’t know how long this review process will take or how long it might be until changes are passed.
And frankly I’m skeptical that the “balanced approach” will go nearly as far as I and others would like to see it go. I (and I’m certainly not alone in this) have maintained from the start that CASL is one of the most ill-conceived, badly written, impractical pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen. It provides little benefit – at a great cost. Tinkering with the legislation won’t fix it – it needs a major overhaul.