The Competition Bureau and CASL

The Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

Headed by the Commissioner of Competition, the Bureau is responsible for the administration and enforcement of:

  • the Competition Act including the amendments to it in Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation;
  • the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (except as it relates to food);
  • the Textile Labelling Act; and,
  • the Precious Metals Marking Act

The Competition Act contains criminal and civil provisions to address false or misleading representations and deceptive marketing practices in any medium, including digital representations, in promoting the supply or use of a product or any business interest.

The Bureau's Role: Amendments and Additions

Role

  • CASL is legislation that will enable the Bureau to more effectively address false or misleading representations and deceptive marketing practices in the electronic marketplace, including false or misleading electronic messages and website content.
  • The amendments to the Competition Act are specifically designed to address false or misleading representations in the digital marketplace.
  • Provides more targeted enforcement tools

Amendments and Additions

  • A new civil and criminal injunctive power to prevent a person from supplying a product (e.g. Internet service) to another person;
  • Changes to existing criminal and civil injunctions applicable to deceptive marketing practices to help streamline our ability to use these tools;
  • Amendments to certain definitions and existing provisions to make them technology neutral;
  • Amends the civil and criminal deceptive marketing provisions of the Competition Act to address false or misleading sender or subject matter information in electronic messages, materially false or misleading representations in an electronic message as well as false or misleading locators (e.g. a URL or metadata).
  • Spammers will often:
    1. disguise their identity or subject lines so as to imply a personal acquaintance with the recipient;
    2. offer to sell a product or service despite a false or misleading subject line that suggests a different purpose; or,
    3. seek to compel a person to open an email by virtue of a false or misleading subject line.
  • Creates domestic information-sharing regime among the three partner agencies; and
  • Amendments to allow the Bureau to collect evidence on behalf of foreign counterparts.

Commercial Electronic Messages

CASL Definition: "commercial activity" means any particular transaction, act or conduct or any regular course of conduct that is of a commercial character, whether or not the person who carries it out does so in the expectation of profit, other than any transaction, act or conduct that is carried out for the purposes of law enforcement, public safety, the protection of Canada, the conduct of international affairs or the defence of Canada.

Competition Act Definition: "business" includes the business of

  1. manufacturing, producing, transporting, acquiring, supplying, storing and otherwise dealing in articles, and
  2. acquiring, supplying and otherwise dealing in services.
  • It also includes the raising of funds for charitable or other non-profit purposes.

Even if you're exempt from CASL, your conduct may still be subject to the Competition Act