Name Canada’s Anti-Spam/Anti-Spyware Law

February 6th, 2011 by Barry Sookman Leave a reply »

Canada has a new anti-SPAM and anti-spyware law, Bill –C-28. It is a law with an inordinately long name: “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”.

The Bill has no short title. As a result different terms and acronyms are being used to refer to it including the ECPA, FISA, FIWSA, the SPAM Bill, the Anti-SPAM Legislation, and the Anti-SPAM and Anti-Spyware Bill.

The Bill needs a short title we can all agree on. I am asking you to help decide what we call it.

Some Background

On April 24, 2009, the Government introduced Bill C-27. It had a short title called the Electronic Commerce Protection Act. Its acronym was the ECPA. It received second reading in the House of Commons. The ECPA died on the Order Paper, however, when it reached the stage of second reading in the Senate, due to the prorogation of Parliament on December 30, 2009.

On 25 May 2010, the Government introduced Bill C-28. This bill was based substantially on Bill C-27. At first reading in the House of Commons, the short title of the Bill was Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act. It was also known by the acronyms FIWSA or FISA.

Bill C-28 was reviewed by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. On Tuesday, November 2, 2010, the Committee voted to amend the Bill to remove the short title. The amendment was initiated by NDP MP Brian Masse during the following exchange in the Committee hearings over the short title:

Mr. Brian Masse:

I have just one last quick question. I noticed that the short title of the bill has been amended. We’ve had some things around that. Who suggested that the short title be changed?

Mrs. Janet DiFrancesco:

The short title of the bill was provided to us.

I also can’t tell you why they dropped a letter out of it. I don’t what happened to the “W” to go with the initials FISA, but that was the acronym they also gave us when it was tabled.

Mr. Brian Masse:

I suspected as much.

Thank you very much for your answers. I appreciate them.

Thank you, Mr. Chair. I’m all done.

The Chair:

There are 92 clauses, so we’ll postpone the short title, as is the practice per Standing Order 75(1).

(Clauses 2 to 92 inclusive agreed to)

(On clause 1—Short title)…

The Chair:

Shall the short title carry?

Mr. Brian Masse:

No, I’m not going to agree to the short title. First of all, it wasn’t from the department. We got into these silly games of naming bills with these little titles here and there. I’m not going to give them this; it’s just ridiculous to do this type of stuff. I haven’t seen this in the years I’ve been here, so I’m not supporting this nonsense.

The Chair:

Okay.

Mr. Anthony Rota:

Mr. Chair, just for clarification, if we vote in favour of the title, then it has a title. If we vote against the short title, then it has no title. Am I correct?

The Chair:

That’s right. We’ll report it back that way. We’ll still have the long title.

Mr. Anthony Rota:

I just wanted to clarify that. Thank you.

The Chair:

Shall the short title carry? Can I see a show of hands?

(Clause 1 negatived)

The Chair: It’s defeated.

Shall the title carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall the bill as amended carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall I report the bill, as amended to the House?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Chair: Shall the committee order a reprint of the bill?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Chair: Gentlemen, that’s very good work. We have no meeting on Thursday.

The meeting’s adjourned.

The Bill eventually passed the House of Commons and the Senate before being given Royal Assent on December 15, 2010. It awaits publication of the regulations and then proclamation, which is expected to occur in the fall of this year.

You Name the Bill

Bill C-28 is going to be with us for a long time. It is legislation that is very complex and will undoubtedly result in considerable study, litigation (including class action proceedings) and enforcement proceedings before the CRTC. (The Bill is summarized here, here, here, and here.)

We need a common way of referring to it. We need a short title. What do you think it should be?

I encourage you to email me (bsookman@mccarthy.ca) or post comments on my blog with your recommended short name (and/or acronym) and the reasons for choosing it. I will list the top few suggested names along with some of the main reasons for suggesting it and ask people to let me know their preferences.*

What do you recommend we call the Bill and why?

One of the people to recommend the winning name will be given a McCarthy Tétrault branded gift as a reward for his/her skill.

* By participating, you confirm you are okay with me attributing (or not attributing) suggestions to you, unless you let me know otherwise.

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