Canada’s anti-spam law is in full effect, but the Canadian government has halted a “private right of action” provision that would have allowed Canadians to sue businesses that violate spam rules.

Businesses, nonprofit groups and other marketers were concerned about the private right of action provision potentially leading to frivolous lawsuits. Just before that provision was due to take effect on July 1, the Canadian government announced that it would be suspended indefinitely due to “broad-based concerns.”

“Canadians deserve to be protected from spam and other electronic threats so that they can have confidence in digital technology,” said Canada’s minister of innovation, science and economic development Navdeep Bains. “At the same time, businesses, charities and other nonprofit groups should have reasonable ways to communicate electronically with Canadians. We have listened to the concerns of stakeholders and are committed to striking the right balance.”

Canada’s anti-spam law was enacted in 2014, but there was a three-year grace period for organizations that had a preexisting business relationship with a recipient to adjust their email practices and update their email lists. That grace period ended July 1.

American associations with Canadian members, prospects and business partners must still comply with the law and obtain written or oral consent before sending emails to their Canadian contacts. Read Associations Now for more information on the law.

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