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In three weeks, businesses will be required to obtain consent for sending “commercial electronic messages” to clients or prospective customers

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More than 1,000 complaints have been filed since the new anti-spam law took effect on Tuesday, says Manon Bombardier, the CRTC's chief compliance and enforcement officer.

Hundreds of reports have been submitted daily at http://fightspam.gc.ca and investigators are already at work looking into whether companies have violated the new law, says Bombardier.

"We have received a number of complaints, and the numbers will keep going up for sure, but really for us the positive message is Canadians are seeing the importance of the legislation and they are reporting (spam) to the CRTC as the mechanism allows them to do," she says.

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"From what we've observed in social media the reaction seems to be quite positive."

The federal legislation requires that businesses get written or oral consent before they send emails or other digital messages to consumers. Companies must also clearly identify themselves in each message and allow consumers to unsubscribe from digital mailings.

Businesses that violate the law could face financial penalties of up to $10-million per violation, while individuals could be fined up to $1-million per infraction.

Bombardier cautions that while she expects the law will reduce the amount of spam Canadians receive, it won't keep their inboxes clear.

"The legislation is seeking to strike a balance between the privacy of Canadians and the legitimate businesses that need to communicate with Canadians, so there are some exemptions in the rules. People will continue to receive emails but hopefully only legitimate ones," she says.

Consumers who wish to report unwanted spam emails can forward messages to spam(at)fightspam.gc.ca or fill out an online form to register a complaint.

"We're going to look at all the complaints we receive," Bombardier says.

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"We will be strategic in which ones we pursue for investigations but we will review all the complaints."

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