Skip Navigation Links
The Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario

416-231-2600 or 1-800-268-2598 or fax 416-232-0775

Used Car Dealers Association of Ontario   



As of July 1, 2014 (Canada Day) “Spam” is off the menu in Canada!


On that date, Canada’s new anti-spam legislation, more formally known as the Electronic Commerce Protection Act, comes into effect and Canada will have some of the harshest laws in the world controlling commercial electronic messaging by text, email or social media.


ANY electronic message sent for a commercial purpose (this includes offers or coupons, alerts to a business opportunity or sales) MUST have the consent of the recipient.  This applies to business to business communication as well as business to consumer.


Consent can be obtained in two ways:


1.  Implied - if your company has a prior business relationship with the recipient in the previous 2 years


2.  Express - you have obtained written consent from the recipient to include them on your mailing list


Note:  Every outgoing message MUST include an “unsubscribe” option to give all recipients a chance to change their minds at any time in the future.


Exceptions of interest to dealers are warranty recall, safety or security information for the vehicle the customer owns, but those communications are restricted to those issues ONLY and dealers should not view that as a means to include sales or marketing messages.


Don’t Delay


With a few months to go dealers might want to think about how they will ensure electronic communications are not sent without consent.  Date tracking customers who have done business with you in the last two years, obtaining express consents and thinking about how that consent will be obtained are all good ideas at this stage.


You are not allowed to ask for express consent by means of electronic communication after July 1, 2014, so get started now!  And remember, if you do this, a form with a box already checked “yes” is not sufficient, the recipient must opt-in actively and reply.


Note:  It is unlikely that the privacy “consent boxes” most dealers have on their bills of sale will satisfy the express consent requirements of the new law.


Penalties - fines can be levied up to a maximum of $1 million for individuals and $10 million for organizations (and officers and directors).  After July 1, 2017 private or class actions might be brought by individuals or groups against spam creators and their officers and directors.

For more information a dealer-focused Preparedness Guide has been designed can be viewed here(pdf).  This document is used with the kind permission of SCI MarketView.

There is more information on all of this available from SCI at or call 888.919.8084.

The CRTC, who is tasked with enforcing the new law, also has a useful website with more information at