The period for filing submissions to the Industry Canada consultation on the draft Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations has closed.
Industry Canada received numerous submissions from organizations representing all sectors of the Canadian public including charities, not-for profit and educational institutions, private individuals, small, medium and large businesses, retailers, publishers, financial institutions, technology and telecommunications companies, vehicle manufacturers and others. The organizations that filed submissions include the Ontario Nonprofit Network, Imagine Canada, the AUCC, AccessPrivacy, Canadian Bar Association, Magazines Canada, The Canadian Marketing Association, Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada, a Coalition of Business and Technology Associations, The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Information Technology Association of Canada, and CWTA . Phil Palmer, a specialist practitioner at Industry Canada Legal Services who oversaw the development of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation and the development of its regulations also filed a submission. I also personally filed a submission.
All submissions are posted on Industry Canada’s website.
What is clear from reviewing the submissions is that there are very significant problems with CASL. Some commentators believe that CASL’s burdens far outweigh its benefits. Some believe that CASL’s problems can be rectified through appropriately revised regulations. Others are skeptical that any tinkering with CASL will solve their problems with it. In fact, the entire charitable, not for profit, and university sectors are so flummoxed and worried about CASL, they are asking for complete exemptions from its application.
A continuing theme running through many of the submissions is that CASL will have many inadvertent consequences. Another recurring theme is that CASL will impinge on the ability of organizations to optimally use electronic means of communications and interfere with their ability to communicate with individuals who depend on them or want or need to receive information from them.
As readers of my blog posts know, I believe that CASL has fundamental flaws. These flaws are described in the recent submissions filed with Industry Canada including, as I noted above, submissions from charities, not for profits, and educational institutions. The inadvertent consequences that result from CASL’s “ban all” prohibitions (CASL roadkill) are numerous. CASL’s lock down on the use of the Internet and other networks for communicating information including messages that consumers and other individuals want and need to receive, but which incredibly will be illegal to send, are so significant that Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) could easily be renamed “Canada’s Anti-Speech Legislation” without any need to change acronyms.
About the only person that still supports and publicly defends CASL in its current form, despite its excessive lock down of legitimate communications and other problems, is Michael Geist. More on this later.