Electronic Commerce law

Like many other countries and jurisdictions around the world, all of the provincial and territorial legislatures in Canada, have enacted e-commerce legislation to address certain contractual formalities and procedural aspects of the formation of contracts. In Canada, electronic commerce legislation is generally considered to be a matter of provincial jurisdiction. There is federal legislation dealing with electronic documents and related electronic filings, however, these generally apply to matters dealing with the federal government. Although there are certain central features of electronic commerce legislation, there are some differences between the provincial statutes, and it is therefore necessary to refer to the legislation of the province in which one is doing business to ascertain the specific requirements applicable in that province. Companies doing business in Canada should be aware that, in addition to e-commerce legislation, other federal and provincial laws, such as those relating to privacy, advertising, language and consumer protection, also apply to online businesses. For example, in Ontario, certain provisions of the Consumer Protection Act (Ontario) apply to internet agreements with consumers, and the legislation imposes stringent disclosure obligations on vendors and provides various cancellation rights for consumers. Vendors also have to disclose certain information to consumers and provide the contract in a manner that enables it to be printed. If vendors to not disclose the required information, the consumer will be able to cancel the agreement upon notice to the vendor. The Ontario legislation applies if either the business or the consumer is in Ontario. In terms of Internet advertising, the Canadian Competition Bureau has issued an Information Bulletin on the application of the Competition Act (Canada) to representations on the Internet, to assist those who are making representations on the Internet in understanding their obligations under provisions of the Competition Act dealing with misleading advertising and deceptive marketing practices.

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