ARCHIVED—A Canadian Action Plan
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Task Force on Spam: Stakeholder Roundtable
December 3, 2004
Following a lengthy period of public consultations, the Minister of Industry announced an Anti-Spam Action Plan for Canada on May 11, 2004. Based on a "tool kit" approach to combating spam, the strategy included: better enforcement of existing laws, including the Criminal Code of Canada and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act; actions by the Internet and information technology industries to resolve some network technology issues that facilitated e-mail abuse; improved codes of practice both by service providers and industries that used e-mail for legitimate commercial purposes; and better consumer education and awareness.
In recognition of the broad scope of the problem and the need to develop broad, cooperative solutions, the Minister of Industry also announced the creation of Canada's Task Force on Spam, whose role was to oversee the implementation of the Action Plan.
Chaired by a senior Industry Canada official, the Task Force brings together representatives from the information technology industries, internet service providers, consumers, Internet law specialists, and public advocacy organizations. A Secretariat to the Task Force was established in the Electronic Commerce Branch of Industry Canada.
- Michael Binder, Task Force Chair, Assistant Deputy Minister, Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications
- Lori Assheton-Smith, Senior Vice-President and General Counsel, Canadian Cable Telecommunications Association
- Tom Copeland, President, Canadian Association of Internet Providers
- Bernard Courtois, President, Information Technology Association of Canada
- Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law, University of Ottawa
- Amanda Maltby, Senior Vice-President, Canadian Marketing Association
- Suzanne Morin, Assistant General Counsel, Regulatory Law and Policy, Bell Canada
- Geneviève Reed, Head of Research and Representation, Option Consommateurs
- Neil Schwartzman, President, Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email Canada
- Roger Tassè, Partner, Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
Despite a relatively small number of members, the Task Force represents a broad range of organizations with a stake in the future of e-mail communications, from individual users to the large companies that develop and supply the software and equipment that fuels Internet growth. In order to organize its work and engage other stakeholders, the Task Force established five working groups to address specific points contained in the Action Plan: Legislation and Enforcement, Technology and Network Management, Validating Commercial Email, Public Education and Awareness, and International Collaboration. Membership in the working groups was open to any interested individual or organization. To date, there are approximately 60 organizations involved in the work. The bulk of working group deliberations have been accomplished through conference calls, with some in-person meetings for specific discussions.
The Task Force also established an Interdepartmental Committee made up of senior officials from federal government departments and agencies who had a role and responsibility in dealing with the spam problem. This group has met on an as-required basis, since a number of federal departments are also active participants on the individual working groups.
The Task Force wanted to consult as broadly as possible on the issue, and focused on two mechanisms to do so. It issued a notice in the Canada Gazette in the summer of 2004 and established an On-Line Forum where individuals can express their views on any of the subject areas under consideration by the Task Force. To date, the On-Line Forum has been moderately active. The somewhat limited use of the forum can be attributed to the widespread national participation that has been achieved within the working groups.
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