This guest blog post is provided by the Office of Consumer Affairs, which promotes the interests and protection of Canadian consumers.

If you use the Internet, mobile devices or social media as part of your business marketing strategy, you should be aware of the federal government's new anti-spam law. The law, which received royal assent on December 15, 2010, is expected to come into force next year. It will prohibit sending commercial electronic messages, including messages to email addresses and social networking accounts, and text messages to a cell phone, without the recipient's express or implied consent. Your business will need to gain consumer consent before sending commercial electronic messages, including through email lists and bulk marketing messages. It is a good idea to review your marketing activities to make sure you will be compliant with the law.

While these new requirements will help reduce the flow of some unwanted emails, it's not expected that spam will disappear from your inbox. You and your employees should be aware that often spammers operate “underground” and, in many cases, beyond our borders. As a result, even after the law comes into force, you and your employees will need to remain vigilant and continue being careful about what you open in your inboxes.

There are many simple and effective electronic practices you can follow to help keep your equipment and data safe. Keeping software and operating systems up to date on computers and mobile devices and using trusted anti-spam and anti-virus programs and firewalls can go a long way to reducing risks.

Visit fightspam.gc.ca to take a short, five minute quiz designed to help you test your knowledge and learn more about how to protect your business from attacks from spam and other electronic threats. Don't forget to check out the new information sheet: Protect your Business or Organization Online and While Mobile.