A Few Considerations Regarding Canadian Electronic Commerce Law And Where It Is Applicable
Just like most other countries in the world, Canada has adopted a series of acts and regulations to govern the electronic commerce. Canada has enacted legislation that is meant to address several contractual formalities as well as to regulate some procedural aspects in the process of formation of contracts in the information technology trade.
Even though there are a set of regulations that apply to electronic commerce, in Canada, most regulations are more subject to provincial jurisdiction rather than federal jurisdiction. While there is indeed federal legislation which regulates the dealing of electronic documents or other electronic fillings, these are usually applicable when the federal government is involved in electronic trade. Despite the fact that there are some generalities and some central features which regulate the electronic commerce, there are also many differences between federal electronic commerce legislation and provincial statutes.
So in most cases, it is usually the matter of consulting the provincial electronic commerce legislation rather than the federal legislation. There is also the consideration that businesses carrying out trade in a specific province must ascertain specific requirements which are applicable in it, and that is why the business must refer to the legislation of that specific province.
In addition to the legislation governing electronic commerce, all business owners conducting electronic commerce in Canada should be aware that there are other indirect laws which might apply. So besides the electronic commerce legislation, there may be other federal or provincial laws which govern several aspects of the trade such as advertising, privacy, consumer protection, language, and there are also some set of laws that apply to on-line businesses.
Provincial electronic commerce legislations
In Ontario for example, there is the Consumer Protection Act which regulates internet agreements with consumers. The Consumer Protection Act imposes certain disclosure obligations to the vendor while also providing consumers with some cancellation rights if the law is not respected. All vendors have to disclose specific information that is not only readily visible, but also in a printable format. In case the vendor does not respect the regulation, then the consumer will have the right to cancel the agreement within 7 days after having received from the vendor a copy with the disclosed information. Although the Ontario legislation is provincial, it is applicable to any electronic commerce agreement that has either the vendor or the consumer residing in Ontario.
The Consumer Protection Act has been made public by the Canadian Competition Bureau through an Information Bulletin and it was sent to representations on the Internet. This was done in order to help all those natural or legal persons that are making representations on the online medium to know about their obligations as well as their rights that fall under the Competition Act provisions which aim to regulate things such as misleading advertising and other practices which may be considered as being deceptive. There are also other provincial electronic commerce regulations which put more emphasis on fair practice and consumer protection.