Canada’s Anti-Spam Law – ‘Spirit’ of CASL

A wee bit further down in the online statute here http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-1.6/page-2.html#docCont is the ‘Purpose’. It reads as follows….

Purpose of Act

  1. 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.

From my (non-lawyer) perspective as an entrepreneur (with a penchant for advocacy, activism); I would like to Note for the Record:

  1. As I go through this exercise of reading, re-reading, pondering, writing about, and eventually posting these very words concerning CASL; I am simultaneously planning how best to *legally* “roll-out” more than one website, some for me and some for others. As best I can imagineer, this will effectively require my establishing enrollments, and setting-up users with accounts and appropriate ‘permissions settings’. [If you are reading this, I could mean YOU!] Of necessity, much of this effort will involve my sending emails, and so I must take care not to run afoul of CASL because I cannot afford a $10 million dollar fine. (More on CASL’s exorbitant fines later.)
  2. There was and still is much, very much, for me to consider and keep in mind, in order to remain on the right side of CASL. I would certainly call this discouraging. This is a GREAT IRONY because of the very purposes which I intend to serve; “to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy” (indeed, economies everywhere) by actually *ENCOURAGING* “the use of electronic means to carry out commercial activities”. Specifically, I am trying to encourage the use of web sites of various description and purpose/topic/theme, because of the many inherent advantages that this offers website visitors and participants. To be clear on this point: The advantages that accrue to participants are not limited to the increased efficiency and adaptability of their electronic means of conducting business in Canada and internationally (although this is hopefully going to be a part of it – undeniably). When the topics of discussion touch-on considerations of economic policy and sovereignty, intellectual property rights and obligations, food security, public safety and especially that most pressing of international issues that is CLIMATE CHANGE in its myriad implications; especially in matters of law and law enforcement, and in discussions on tariffs, subsidies and production quotas…. There are altogether several websites that I am working on that are both, at the same time, “commercial” and “non-commercial” undertakings.
  3. This is yet another instance when I am compelled to wear more than one hat. Though I am generally comfortable wearing more than one hat, now that I’m subject to CASL, I feel discouraged; and this compels me to don more headware (sic). [There’s more irony, in there; I’m quite sure.] As I read CASL closer and closer still, and ponder and plan my entrepreneurial pursuits to realize a more efficient and adaptable Canadian economy – an environomically-sound Canada – (alongside every other country on earth); I am further obliged to consider everything from both a commercial perspective, for unavoidable financial reasons, and as an undertaking in support of “law enforcement, public safety, the protection of Canada, the conduct of international affairs or the defence of Canada”. The reason I can do this with integrity is because I believe (and can prove) that it is a false schema that separates commercial and non-commercial; as each gives birth to, facilitates and maintains the other. Whatever can be divided into “commercial” and “non-commercial” are none other than *essential compliments* to each other. This means that neither can exist devoid of the other. Each provides the context by which the other persists. Perhaps…… It certainly seems to me, anyway….. the orthodoxy that “Communism is Bad and Capitalism is Good” is taken for granted by our legislators, who at the same time don’t seem to know why this is the case. Is CASL an egregious overreach? Is the “cure” offered by Canada’s Anti-Spam Law worse than the disease?

RE: CASL’s sub-paragraph ‘a’ of sub-section ‘3’ regarding the purpose of CASL being to promote efficiency and adaptability…. by regulating commercial conduct that… “impairs the availability, reliability, efficiency and optimal use of electronic means to carry out commercial activities”.

On this count, I must point-out (having read CASL with my non-lawyer eyes), that if I make a *gift* of login credentials to a website, that this would indeed amount to ‘making available’ a reliable, efficient and arguably an *optimal* electronic means to carry out commercial activities. As such, I must conclude that my (planned) emails bearing gifts of free login credentials would serve the same purpose as CASL itself. [NB: As of this writing, I have yet to write or send any such emails, but I am planning on it.]

By CASL definition; keeping my multifaceted plans in mind; 1) my making available, via a gift sent in an email, not a solicitation… 2) an *additional* means of electronic communications, that are more suitable for commercial activities – by definition, by the spirit of the law if not by the tediously parsed letter of it, in addition to it being a gift; 3) aspects of the gifted service could purposefully include exempted initiatives such as would fall under “law enforcement, public safety, the protection of Canada, the conduct of international affairs or the defence of Canada”. There would likely be other topics with secondary and tertiary relevance to these same, exempted issues. IN SUM: Gift-giving, especially that facilitates a superior means of electronic communications must be CASL-compliant, especially if there is relevance to the exempted topics.

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