Legal and Regulatory Frameworks for Electronic Commerce

Electronic Signatures

The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act provides for the formal recognition in law of digital signatures and electronic documents, through the amendment of more than 300 federal statutes relating to governmental transactions and information requirements.

Electronic Commerce Legislative Initiatives

Consumer Protection

Taxation

In 1998 the Prime Minister stated Canada's commitment to a "technology-neutral" approach to electronic commerce taxation which avoids Internet-specific taxes. Revenue Canada responded positively to the recommendations of its private sector advisory committee on e-commerce and has work underway with the private sector to address specific issues related to tax administration, enforcement and compliance.

CRTC Regulatory Framework

In 1999 the CRTC issued a report on new media services, following extensive public hearings. The Commission made clear its intention to exempt Internet-based services from licensing and regulation, permitting electronic commerce to develop on a market-driven basis.

Domain Governance

Arrangements have been made to establish a private sector body, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) to manage ".ca" as Canada's domain name registry.

Internationally, Canada plays a prominent role in ICANN, the newly established private sector organization responsible for registration and governance of top level domain names.

Standards

In 1999 the Telecommunications Standards Advisory Council of Canada (TSACC) approved a Standards Framework for Electronic Commerce, which establishes the reference point for future standards work by government and the private sector at the domestic and international levels. Covering the infrastructure, applications and business process components of e-commerce standards, the Framework underlines the importance of strengthening Canada's presence in the global standards' process.