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

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.

Sponsor

Tony Clement  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment establishes a regulatory framework 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.

It enacts 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, which prohibits the sending of commercial electronic messages without the prior consent of the recipient and provides rules governing the sending of those types of messages, including a mechanism for the withdrawal of consent. It also prohibits other practices that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, such as those relating to the alteration of data transmissions and the unauthorized installation of computer programs. In addition, that Act provides for the imposition of administrative monetary penalties by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, after taking into account specified factors. It also provides for a private right of action that enables a person affected by an act or omission that constitutes a contravention under that Act to obtain an amount equal to the actual amount of the loss or damage suffered, or expenses incurred, and statutory damages for the contravention.

This enactment amends the Competition Act to prohibit false or misleading commercial representations made electronically.

It also amends the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act to prohibit the collection of personal information by means of unauthorized access to computer systems, and the unauthorized compiling of lists of electronic addresses.

Finally, it makes related amendments to the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act and the Telecommunications Act.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:05 p.m.
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Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Industry

moved that Bill C-28, 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, be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to begin the second reading of Bill C-28, Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act.

Hon. members will no doubt recall that this bill was debated extensively in this House and the other place in the last session as Bill C-27. Now it is Bill C-28, so we have moved up at least one notch in the world, anyway.

I should inform members that this bill has not changed substantially since the last session and remains as it was following its review by the House industry committee at that time.

At the outset I would like members to consider the bill in a larger context, as part of an overall plan to help put Canada at the forefront of the digital economy, in part through modernizing our framework of laws for the digital age.

Soon we expect to bring up to date other important legislation, including the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and of course, the Copyright Act. Together these bills will contribute to improving cyber security practices by consumers and industry, to promote trust and confidence in online commerce.

As we know, the Internet has become the central nervous system for the digital economy. It provides a common global platform for communication and commerce. Its use by businesses and consumers has led to the emergence of a borderless international marketplace.

Since 2000, online sales for Canadian companies have increased nearly tenfold. Ten years ago, online sales in our country were less than $7.2 billion. In 2007, sales reached almost $63 billion.

Businesses and consumers have grown to depend on the Internet. They count on it to be safe and reliable. Online security threats can erode the degree of trust and confidence in the Internet as a safe and reliable environment for electronic commerce.

Our government is committed to building the necessary confidence. We understand what a harmful economic impact spam and other online threats can have on the online economy. We know that the government has an important role to play through legislative measures.

Threats to the online economy include more than just spam. They include spyware, malware, computer viruses, phishing, viral attachments, false or misleading emails, the use of fraudulent websites, and the harvesting of electronic addresses.

These threats are not just nuisances. Some are fraudulent, some invade privacy, and some are used to infect and gain control over computers. It is estimated that spam costs the worldwide economy $130 billion a year.

The bill before us contains important provisions that will protect Canadian businesses and consumers from the most harmful and misleading forms of online threats. It improves the privacy and economic security of Canadians in the electronic environment. It offers a host of clear rules that all Canadians will benefit from. It will promote confidence in online communication and electronic commerce.

The bill before us stakes out new ground in Canada. Currently we are the only G8 country and one of only four OECD countries without legislation dealing with spam. This bill will rectify that situation.

In developing the bill, we have been able to incorporate the best practices of other countries that have launched similar efforts.

We have seen, for example, how effective the private right of action has been in combatting spam in the United States. Under the bill before us, businesses will be able to sue spammers who use their brand to lure unsuspecting customers to divulge private information online as a result of unsolicited email. The bill enables class action suits by individuals who have been spammed or whose computers have been subjected to spyware or botnets.

We have learned from approaches taken elsewhere that a civil administrative regime is more responsive and therefore more effective than using the criminal law to combat spam. Other countries such as Australia, the United States and Japan use regulatory authorities rather than law enforcement to enforce anti-spam legislation. With this bill, Canada will have a comprehensive enforcement regime enforced by existing specialized agencies rather than the police.

What enforcement agencies will be involved? The new law will be enforced by the CRTC as Canada's communications authority, by the Competition Bureau as the federal agency that deals with false or misleading commercial messages, and by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, the agency tasked with the administration of PIPEDA. The bill specifically enables these agencies to work and share information with each other, as well as work with and share information with their international counterparts.

The CRTC will enforce the provisions against sending unsolicited commercial messages. It will also have responsibility for the provisions that prohibit the altering of transmission data without authorization and the unauthorized installation of computer programs.

The Competition Bureau will address false or misleading representations online and deceptive marketplace practices such as false headers and website content.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner will address the collection of personal information without consent through unauthorized access to computer systems and the unauthorized compiling or supplying of lists of electronic addresses, commonly referred to as address harvesting.

The bill provides that both the CRTC and the Competition Bureau can seek what we call “administrative monetary penalties”, AMPs, against violators. The maximum AMP for the CRTC is up to $1 million per violation for individuals, and up to $10 million for businesses.

The Competition Bureau, through application of the Competition Tribunal, may seek AMPs under the current AMPs regime in the Competition Act. That regime specifies AMPs of up to $750,000 for the first violation and up to $1 million per subsequent violation in the case of individuals, up to $10 million for an initial violation by a business and up to $15 million per subsequent violation.

These AMP regimes demonstrate that we are serious about driving spammers out of Canada.

Industry Canada will have oversight responsibilities and will ensure that the work of the three agencies is coordinated. A spam reporting centre will be established to help the three enforcement agencies in their investigations and to give businesses and consumers a one-stop shop where they can report spam and other online threats.

I would remind hon. members that after wide-ranging discussions in this place and in the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology we were able to pass the predecessor, Bill C-27, as amended, with unanimous consent at third reading during the last session.

The amendments that have been incorporated into this bill, based on the thorough review done at committee for the previous bill, fine-tune this legislation so it strikes the right balance between protecting consumers and giving them control over their inboxes, while effectively enabling online commerce.

Hon. members may recall that we took a careful look at how to ensure that companies that use email to keep in touch with customers do not inadvertently find themselves in violation of the law. The purpose of the bill, after all, is not to limit legitimate online business. It is to promote electronic commerce by increasing confidence in the use of the Internet to carry out business transactions.

The implied consent provisions were expanded to include the conspicuous publication of an electronic address such as a website or a print advertisement, provided that the sender's message relates to the business or office held by the recipient. This is consistent with provisions under PIPEDA and accepted in the current code of ethics of the Canadian Marketing Association.

Under the bill, no commercial electronic message can be sent without some form of expressed or implied consent. Implied consent is also extended to existing business and non-business relationships. We have, I believe, preserved the ability to extend by regulation the situations in which it is reasonable to believe that consent to receive commercial emails is to be implied.

Hon. members will also remember that after the committee hearings, the bill was amended by the committee to ensure that legitimate businesses can periodically install updates to their software and that businesses and consumers can continue to use navigation features on the web.

The effect of these amendments was to make a good bill even better. Each of these provisions has been brought forward in the bill before us.

Nonetheless, I want to point out that in addition to these changes made at third reading during the last session, we also incorporated a number of technical changes and clarifications to the bill before us today. Two changes in particular are worth going over in greater detail because they are more important.

The first deals with the order of precedence of two laws that affect privacy: the bill before us; and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, PIPEDA. Hon. members may be aware that PIPEDA contains a primacy clause that otherwise ensures its provisions take precedence over subsequently enacted bills when dealing with personal information or consent. This primacy provision ensures that the efficacy of PIPEDA is not undermined by other legislation with weaker consent requirements.

Compared with PIPEDA, the bill before us has stricter rules regarding consent when dealing with personal information respecting email addresses. Its rules are also more strict when dealing with consent to the receipt of commercial messages. This bill must take precedence.

Accordingly, a new clause 3 clarifies that in the event of a conflict between the provision of this bill and a provision of Part 1 of PIPEDA, the provision of this bill, the Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act, would take precedence. Hon. members, I should add that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner supports this amendment.

The second amendment I wish to discuss responds to an issue raised concerning the former Bill C-27. An amendment was added before the bill went to the committee in the other place, but Parliament was prorogued before it could be discussed there. It involves provisions of PIPEDA that prohibit the collection and use of personal information through unauthorized access to a computer system.

Our goal is to increase the protection of personal information stored on personal computers or private business networks. The bill requires private sector firms and investigators to obtain consent to collect that information. It includes a provision that private enterprises do not have the right to collect personal information through access to a computer system “without authorization”. The main focus of the amendment is the term “without authorization”.

In drafting the bill, it was never our intent to limit the ability of private investigators and search engines to access and collect personal information that is already available to the public on the World Wide Web or other similar networks.

Several witnesses have expressed concern that the term “without authorization” clouds the issue. It leaves a great deal to interpretation by the courts. For example, persons who post terms of use on a website could easily render the collection of information from that site “unauthorized”. This could leave industry at risk of civil lawsuits by those seeking statutory damages under the private right of action contained in this bill.

We have consulted with privacy advocates, telecommunications carriers, search engine companies, copyright-dependent industries, and other stakeholders. They agree that an amendment is necessary. As a result, we have changed the wording so that instead of “without authorization”, the bill now reads, “in contravention of an Act of Parliament”. That is, there will be no exception to PIPEDA's consent requirements for: “the collection of personal information, through any means of telecommunication, if the collection is made by accessing a computer system or causing a computer system to be accessed in contravention of an Act of Parliament”.

I believe hon. members will agree that this amendment respects the spirit of the bill as originally passed in this House in the last session, and improves upon it.

Finally, we have travelled a long journey toward bringing anti-spam legislation to Canada. From the work of Senators Oliver and Goldstein to the recommendations of the Task Force on Spam, there have been many different sources of inspiration for this bill. It was very close to receiving royal assent in the last session, and I hope we can move it through this session quickly.

This is a bill that will benefit all Canadians who use the Internet, but it is also a major piece of a much bigger agenda to put Canada in the forefront of the digital economy. If we get this right, we will do more than simplify participation in the digital economy; Canada will be a leader.

I urge hon. members to join me in supporting this bill.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the minister for his speech today. I think even he admits that this bill is about 10 years overdue. However, if it incorporates the best practices of all the other legislation in the jurisdiction, then perhaps the wait might be worth it.

I am sure the minister will not be surprised that the passing of this bill will be a big surprise to a lot of small businesses in this country. No matter how much we know about things, there are thousands and thousands of small businesses that are not really in tune to what is happening in Parliament.

I would like to know what the minister's rollout plans are. Is the minister planning a soft rollout or a tough one? I know the penalties under this act are substantial, so I would not want to see great disruptions and burdens on small businesses as a result of the government's actions. Once the minister gets this legislation through, what plans does he have for the rollout?

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Tony Clement Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his thoughtful intervention and question.

Indeed, it is important that we get the message out. We have been in constant consultation with a number of stakeholders, like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the various organizations involved in information and communication technologies. I assure the hon. member that we will continue to consult them.

We will continue to get the message out. The fact of the matter is that we have a number of ways in which we communicate with the business world. That is one of things that Industry Canada does for Canadians. We will continue to get this message out.

If the hon. member has some specific suggestions, I would certainly take them under advisement.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Barry Devolin

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Yukon, The Environment; the hon. member for Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, Pensions; the hon. member for Mississauga—Brampton South, Government Programs.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, sometimes it is not a pleasure to rise and speak to bills, but it is a pleasure to speak to this bill as it will make Canadians very happy.

All of us are bombarded with annoying spam on our computers. The side effects can be dangerous to our computer system. It slows down legitimate commercial businesses in Canada. It is amazing that we have not yet dealt with this issue because it is an annoying and costly problem to Canadians and people all over the world. I am sure there will be support on all sides of the House to deal with this aggravating and at some times dangerous problem that essential computer systems face.

Twenty years ago a computer was not essential in carrying on daily life, but now it is involved in many things. It is even more important to people in the area I come from for things like distance education and health because they do not live in a big city so they do not have access to these specialties. Computers are essential. People need their computers for all sorts of things, like banking and personal communication. A fly in the ointment or a wrench in the works could gum the whole thing up. All of us would like this problem fixed as spam is distressing and dangerous.

I am excited about speaking to the bill. I am also excited about Parliament taking action on spam, which is unsolicited electronic email.

Many of us with computers know how dangerous and how much of a problem this is for Canadian consumers and businesses. In 2003 it was estimated that spam cost the economy over $27 billion worldwide. That is half the Canadian deficit. It is a monumental amount of money.

Since then, the problem has only grown worse. I am sure each of us in the House has thousands of these unsolicited emails gumming up the work of Parliament. I am sure that businesses across the country have this problem, as do individuals. More updated information will be forthcoming on how devastating spam actually is, and it is becoming worse all the time.

We are now looking at a far more serious problem, which would be corrected by the bill, and that relates to the issues of identity theft, phishing and spyware, all of which give concern to Canadians and to the world. We have to deal with this in legislation, both locally and internationally.

In the early 2000s the Liberal Party recognized the problem that spam created. In 2003 the Liberal member for Pickering—Scarborough East tabled a private member's bill to make spam illegal. Unfortunately, the bill never made it to second reading.

However, based on the strength of Bill C-460, introduced in mid-2003 in the 37th Parliament, the Liberal minister of industry struck a committee to examine the issue of spam and to report to the minister about how the government could most effectively stop this obvious and seriously growing problem.

That report entitled “Stopping Spam: Creating a Stronger, Safer Internet ”, was released in May 2005. The report was created by a committee of 10 experts on information technology and Internet law. The task force also worked with dozens of stakeholders in the technology industry to develop sound proposals and to look at the best practices at the time.

The primary recommendations of the task force were that the government legislate prohibitions on the following: the sending of unsolicited email; the use of false or misleading statements that disguise the origin and the true intent of the email, those emails we get with the funny titles that make it look like it is for us, or something critical or important, but it has nothing to do with that at all. The same product is being sold to us all over again.

The task force also recommended prohibitions on the unauthorized collection of personal information and email addresses, particularly by using fake websites through the selling of lists where those on the list were not told the list would be sold to a third, unknown party.

The committee recommended all these very important changes and I cannot imagine anyone in the House disagrees with those changes. The official opposition supports the bill as it follows through on the recommendations of the committee created by the Liberal government. Also the industry committee did such good work in the last Parliament before prorogation on Bill C-27. It made some very good changes to the bill to make it acceptable to more members of Parliament and a much better bill. However, much more needs to be done.

As I described earlier, as the world is changing, it is changing for businesses too and it is changing the way businesses do business and earn their revenue. They depend more on the Internet and computers. The bill would protect them and it would be a big enhancement to industry and small business in Canada. However, it also has to be careful not to deter the legitimate work and communication with consumers about their business products and services.

The minister talked about the consultation being done with business organizations and the fact that the committee and MPs can hear from those organizations and see whether more amendments need to be made other than the good amendments there were made on Bill C-27 to make it now into this new bill, Bill C-28.

Much needs to be done. The committee highlighted the need for the government to play a central role in coordinating the actions of both government and the private sector. All actors agreed that spam needed to be stopped. Internet service providers, web hosts and online marketing agencies need a set of best practices for email solicitation.

The government must work in coordination with industry partners to establish a strong code of practice that prevents the proliferation of electronic emails that are unsolicited, unwanted and constitute spam.

These days spam is no longer a problem exclusive to email. In 2004 and 2005, when the committee was writing the report, spam was starting to move to other electronic platforms. Today Canadians must contend with cellphone spam, either by means of text message or something we may not all be familiar with, robo calling.

It is important that the act recognize the facts and is technologically neutral, encompassing all forms of commercial electronic communication.

The legislation must meet the test to ensure there is proper, effective and adaptable application to current, existing and future modalities that may be able to circumvent not only technologies to prevent and protect consumers in business, but also to remain faithful to the act.

That is why some hope the act can be revisited on a yearly basis as technology evolves. It is something the Liberal Party may look to see the government amend or to look into at committee.

Moreover, the issue of text message spam is being aggravated obviously by yet another announcement of a major cellular service provider recently to start charging for received text messages. There has been plenty of discussion among members of Parliament. It is obvious to everyone that it is unfair, to say the least, that consumers are charged for something they had no choice whatsoever in receiving.

Spam is not just a Canadian problem, as I indicated earlier. Given the borderless nature of the Internet, it means that spam can originate from anywhere and be delivered anywhere. It will not help a lot if we just do the controls here because then we will be flooded by people sending spam to Canadians, gumming up Canadian businesses. They will start sending it from an out of Canada site.

I strongly point out that the legislation takes measures in Canada. There has to be an attempt to work internationally with other partners so we can also go after those companies and organizations that do this remotely from other countries, which do not have the same level of proposed enforcement or legislation. We have to do a lot of work on the international scene, assign the resources to do that work so the good work that is before us now, brought to us by the industry committee, does not dissolve in a flood of spam from 180 other countries around the world.

As a result, because of the international nature of this problem, any government that is serious about combatting spam must be willing to engage other governments around the world in an international strategy to reduce this ongoing problem.

The government's ability to combat spam is not simply about legislation. My party calls on the government to show its concern by raising this internationally at all international fora and working with other governments to produce a coordinated international anti-spam and anti-counterfeit strategy.

The effectiveness of this law will be measured by the government's commitment to enforcement. I take the comments that have already been raised in the past, that we have to ensure there is adequate support for the enforcement of the legislation, which is being complimented and being recommended here. That is a tall order.

Some members are probably aware about all the fraudulent emails people get. If they send them off to the place to deals with them, they get a message saying that they cannot give them an answer because they are so busy, they are so inundated. If there are not enough resources to deal with enforcing this, and the minister mentioned the agencies where those resources would be needed, then the legislation is not going to have much effect.

There is no point in bringing forth legislation if there is a reasonable chance the legislation will not have the intended impact of deterring, stopping, correcting and preventing what is continuously more than just a nuisance, but a very costly one at that.

Policing Internet traffic is incredibly difficult because any Internet crimes crosses jurisdictions and borders, territorial, provincial and federal. That is why in an attempt to control or stop spam, the report called on the government to create a central office that would coordinate anti-spam activities.

I hope the government will move diligently on that if speedy passage is given to this legislation.

Industry Canada is being designated as the official coordinating body. I would like to ask, perhaps in subsequent interventions from the government side, what kind of resources Industry Canada is being given to coordinate the other agencies that have responsibilities under this act such as the Privacy Commissioner, the CRTC and the Competition Bureau, as mentioned by the minister. When we talk about billions of emails, we need the resources for these agencies to deal with them and enforce the legislation.

What resources can we see coming from the government with respect to these offices so we can see spam corrected in our country?

It is extremely important that everywhere in Canada we can have confidence in legislation proposed by the government. I expect the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology will deal quickly with the issues before us because it has already reviewed the bill and improved it substantially, and I congratulate the committee for that.

Central to this issue is if the government passes legislation and walks away from the issue, all these proposed initiatives, well-intended, well-researched and up to date, will fail.

I believe legislation to be correctly brought forward must ensure that we have proper resources and effective coordination so it is understood how this will take place.

The more rapid response we can have to correct this problem will ensure that those who see Canada as an opportunity and a target will find another place.

However, we also want to ensure that the other place is blocked. We simply want to put an end, where possible, to those practices which have as their origins the sense of undermining the credibility and the integrity of communicating and the effectiveness of the legitimate use of the Internet, which belongs to us all.

As many members know, spam emails also contain viruses, various dangerous bugs, that can turn people's private home computers, people who perhaps do not understand computers that much, into very dangerous machines that then send out all sorts of emails, disrupting businesses and other Canadians, their friends and the people they deal with on a business basis, ultimately costing millions of dollars.

It is simply fraud when they send emails and disguise them so one will open it. Once again, it could have the unwanted effect of having to deal with an email that was unsolicited and businesses and individuals have to buy more expensive equipment, perhaps try to use spam filters which, as we all know, does not work on everything. One needs to have bigger storage because there are more emails on the machine and it leads to many more problems than simply getting an unwanted email. One's name and information can then be sent to all sorts of other sources who will then start sending these unsolicited emails.

It is just a pyramid scheme that is very bad for everyone. It can also lead to the exposure of one's personal information. Every member of Parliament knows from a previous bill how dangerous and how proliferating this is in the world. With very little personal information, one can become a victim of crime, Many thousands of Canadians have already become victims of crime when their information has been provided.

These types of emails can ultimately be used by installing unwanted illegal software on one's computer without one knowing it when one of these emails is opened.

In 1993 and 1994, the Industry minister at the time, John Manley, talked about the great opportunities of the Internet as the super highway, as it was called at the time because it was the wonderful dawning of a new age. Unfortunately, that super highway has become badly clogged to the point where I think it is fair to say that there have been serious traffic jams, if not serious accidents along the way.

Therefore, the legislation is timely, necessary and has a very reasonable opportunity to pass.

In the rural and northern areas, our access is sometimes through limited pipes, whether it be hard wire or through satellite. Expanding the usage by these huge amounts of unwanted, wasteful, almost illegal emails makes it so people do not get access or have very slow access and it can shut down the access that other people have in rural and northern areas.

The government must follow up on the legislation with real action and real enforcement resources. It must actively engage all partners everywhere in industry internationally. It must continue the consultation process and develop longer term opportunities to combat spam.

What plan does the government have in moving forward to engage industry partners and building strong codes of this practice? We will have to ensure that it is not just based on a blue ribbon panel that was struck some years ago but, in fact, that we have an ongoing ability to ensure that partners, stakeholders and consumers, those who have been tremendously affected by this, will be able to benchmark and give us feedback as to how effectively the legislation would be, particularly from the point of enforcement.

What plan does the government have to work with international partners in building a strong international effort to combat spam? Spam can be incredibly destructive. Besides consuming time and band width, spam is a delivery vehicle for malware, programs that access one's computer without authorization and can do a number of dangerous things. Malware includes viruses and spyware, which attack the individual user. However, some of these programs turn the user's computer into a zombie on a botnet which then can be used to attack major websites on the Internet.

This is something we could not have contemplated three, four, five years ago but it is currently taking place. Many consumers and many constituents have talked to me about this and talked to other members of the House. We need to ensure that we have a pragmatic policy, a pragmatic document that is capable of changing with the times as the Internet and electronic information becomes more sophisticated.

All these attacks have serious economic impacts when websites like Google and other information websites are brought down. Even for a few hours billions of dollars can be lost. Spyware can be used for identity theft which is a constantly growing threat in the Internet age.

Therefore, I call upon all members to support the bill to go to committee and get it through. I am sure all Canadians and businesses will be very happy to remove this aggravating and dangerous problem.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:40 p.m.
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Kenora Ontario

Conservative

Greg Rickford ConservativeParliamentary Secretary for Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for again representing the issues of folks in the north. I had the privilege of working with him on the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and it was a pleasure.

In terms of committee process, I am sure the member received a briefing, but what were the stakeholders saying about this issue and how important do they feel it is that this process move along? I was wondering if he could answer.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I used to be on the industry committee, which I quite enjoyed, but I am no longer on it and I was not on it when the bill went through.

However, the minister made it quite clear that there was good consultation with industry, which is very important, and which is what I tried to emphasize in my speech. We do not want, as a bad byproduct of the bill, an unexpected consequence to hurt small business, to hurt industry, when they do much more business on valid methods these days.

I have had all sorts of input from his constituents about how annoying and how dangerous SPAM can be. People's computers are getting shut down. People's identities have been stolen. For people like myself who are not as familiar with what can be done by someone who is very technically astute, this can be very dangerous.

I am sure the member is supporting what is being said by the stakeholders I have heard from.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Robert Bouchard Bloc Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to thank the member for his speech.

I heard the member talk about spam. We know that it is a real problem on the Internet. I would like to hear the member's thoughts about the effects of spam on e-commerce.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, the consequences of emails for electronic trade can be both good and bad. Of course, if it is destructive emails, such as spam, not being used properly, it eats up the time of the employees of a business and makes them much more wary of doing business on the Internet because of the dangers of the fraudulent uses. Whereas effective and efficient trade can proliferate on the Internet and it can really help businesses in the world, help our small businesses and help our big businesses.

However, when we have spam gumming up the system or shutting down businesses, huge massive networks of their business, then it can be very destructive to a business when it should be a useful asset. The illegitimate use of email can cost billions of dollars to the Canadian economy.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Jim Maloway NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the member regarding implied consent in terms of the business relationship vis-à-vis a non-business relationship.

I can understand that perhaps in a business relationship, the implied consent rule being two years is probably reasonable in most cases, but in the case of implied consent in terms of a non-business relationship, I am wondering about the member's views on the two year rule. For example, if a recipient made a donation or gift to an organization two years before the message was sent, and it was a registered charity, political party organization or candidate, it would qualify.

Also, if the recipient performed volunteer work for an organization or attended a meeting organized by it within the last two years, if it is a registered charity, a political party organization or a candidate, I am just wondering if we are being a little too tight with the two year rule for, essentially, non-business relationships. We get into the whole area of the political parties and the charities.

I wonder if the member has any observations about that. I know this bill has been to committee before. I am assuming that members of the registered charities, members of political parties or their representatives have made presentations, although I cannot be sure about that point. I would ask the member for any observations he would have and any comments about that point.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, the member raises a very good point. Hopefully he will have his member on the industry committee raise that at committee if it has not already been raised. As I said, I am not on that committee and have not delved into that but I am sure we have all sent emails within two years to people from whom we have not had consent.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Alan Tonks Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member has given an excellent overview of the bill. I am sure all parties in the House will support this bill. It has been reported that 60% to 80% of email transactions are spam. Therefore, we know the extent of the issue of cross-boundaries and so on.

The member also indicated a coordinated approach that the government has put forward in terms of the privacy commissioner, the ministry and other parts of the federal organization.

In view of the fact that the member said that legislation alone was not enough, and we are looking at a very heavy fine regimen in this bill, how can the House be assured that, when this goes to committee, the resources will be invested in policing, law enforcement agencies and in business agencies that are taking a huge toll as a result of spam being perpetrated not only on individual email accounts but on business at a tremendous cost?

What assurances do we have that the House committee will report back on a regimen that would ensure that the resources will be invested to really put our money where our mouth is in terms of fighting span?

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I have emphasized that the legislation will not work without the resources for the privacy commissioner, the CRTC and the Competition Bureau, and I suppose one of the ways would be to ask some of the questions that I asked in my speech, if they are not answered here during the debate at second reading, or ask the minister and the departmental staff when they come to committee. Ask them how many resources and ask them how they will deal with the problem of billions of emails. It is not a simple enforcement regime. What resources will be put before it?

It is good that the member emphasized that question. Hopefully, people at the committee will ask these types of questions of the minister and department to find out how they are planning to enforce this. As the minister said, Canada could be world leading in the usage of the Internet, which is now so important to all of us.

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, this bill is the former Bill C-27. What strikes me is that it took four long years to come up with a bill, and the work is not over. We can see that technology is evolving at an alarming rate and that the legislative framework often lags behind. How can we counter this?

I would like to ask the member a question. When we talk about the web or the Internet, we cannot ignore its international aspect. How can we ensure that international agreements will be signed to make sure this bill remains useful?

Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam ActGovernment Orders

September 27th, 2010 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, the member raised two very important points.

Since 2003, when a private member's bill was brought forward by the member for Pickering—Scarborough East, all sorts of new technologies have come on board. The member mentions that we are now getting fraud in all sorts of other ways as well.

We need some type of annual review or at least the legislation be open to deal with all those technologies. As the member mentioned, we need to have an ongoing discussion and a coordinated effort with international partners. We need to invest in that to ensure we stop this from happening in other countries that are close to us and where emails originate for all of us.