CASL Reprieve – Private Right of Action No Longer Imminent

June 8, 2017 | Catherine Bate

By an Order in Council released June 7, 2017, the federal government has suspended the private right of action under Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (or “CASL”). The provisions, which were to come into force on July 1, 2017, would have provided plaintiffs “affected by an act or omission that constitutes a contravention” of CASL the ability to seek both compensatory and statutory damages. The potential exposure for organizations was significant, with the possible damages in certain cases able to reach up to $1M per day. At least for now, that risk is on hold.

For anyone unfamiliar with CASL, the legislation first came into force on July 1, 2014. It imposes consent, disclosure and unsubscribe requirements related to the sending of commercial electronic messages and the installation of computer programs. The law is wide-sweeping, covering messages sent by email, text and even certain social media communications. Even though the law has been in force for three years, many organizations have recently been scrambling to shore up policies and procedures in light of the added risk of potential litigation, including on a class basis. It now remains to be seen whether the private right of action will ever come into force.

A parliamentary committee will review CASL in accordance with the terms of the legislation itself, and no doubt will consider the fate and future of these provisions as part of that process. While the private right of action may no longer be an immediate risk, compliance efforts are not in vain. CASL otherwise continues to be valid law, and the CRTC continues to receive, investigate and enforce alleged CASL noncompliance.


This publication is provided as an information service and may include items reported from other sources. We do not warrant its accuracy. This information is not meant as legal opinion or advice.

Miller Thomson LLP uses your contact information to send you information electronically on legal topics, seminars, and firm events that may be of interest to you. If you have any questions about our information practices or obligations under Canada's anti-spam laws, please contact us at

© 2022 Miller Thomson LLP. This publication may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety provided no alterations are made to the form or content. Any other form of reproduction or distribution requires the prior written consent of Miller Thomson LLP which may be requested by contacting