Canada has a vibrant Internet community. Because of the great expansion of the Internet in Canadian homes and businesses, Canada and its provinces have, in recent years, regulated Internet activity and electronic commerce.


The provincial governments of Manitoba, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Ontario, Yukon, Québec, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Nunavut have enacted legislation intended to govern electronic commerce. These provincial statutes are strongly inspired by the Uniform Electronic Commerce Act (the Uniform Act) which was adopted in 1999 by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada. The Uniform Act takes its source from the United Nations Model Law on Electronic Commerce and was adopted to serve as a guide for the provinces to enact their own electronic commerce legislation. Only Québec’s Act to Establish a Legal Framework for Information Technology was not modeled on the Uniform Act.

Generally, the purpose of these statutes is to recognize the validity of an electronic document, the validity of electronic signatures as long as they correspond to the definition of “signature” under certain provincial legislation, the functional equivalence of electronic documents to written documents, and the validity of contracts in electronic form, and to set out the conditions under which an electronic contract will be valid. Under the Uniform Act, wills and their codicils, trusts created by wills or by codicils to wills, and powers of attorney documents that create or transfer interests in land are not recognized...

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