Murray Gottheil is a Senior Partner in Pallett Valo LLP's Business Law Practice and Family Business Law Group.
Beware! Each email you send could cost your business $10,000,000.00
Don’t think anti-spam legislation applies to you? Think again.
New Anti-Spam Legislation, once proclaimed, which proclamation is anticipated in late 2012 or early 2013, could dramatically affect the way you conduct business. The legislation prohibits, among other things, the sending of unsolicited commercial electronic messages by text messages and emails.
The maximum penalty for sending an unsolicited commercial electronic message is $10,000,000.00 in addition to any remedy awarded in a private action commenced by a person who is affected by a prohibited electronic message.
In order to comply with the new legislation, you must obtain express or implied consent from the recipient of the electronic message. As well, the electronic message must contain the following:
1) information about the sender of the message;
2) information enabling the recipient to contact the sender; and
3) a mechanism to allow the recipient to indicate that they no longer wish to receive further messages.
There are exemptions for electronic messages sent between individuals who have a personal or a familial relationship and electronic messages sent between persons who are engaged in commercial activity, provided the messages are related to that activity.
Once the legislation is proclaimed in force, there will be a three year grace period during which a person’s consent to receiving commercial electronic messages will be implied. Based on the anticipated proclamation, such grace period will expire in late 2015 or early 2016. Following the three year grace period, the sender of an electronic message must obtain the recipient’s consent before sending the message. After the three year grace period, it will not be possible to obtain express consent by sending a request for consent by email. It is essential that you obtain the necessary consents from all your existing business and non-business contacts while you are still able to lawfully send a request for consent by email.