Bill 88
- legal environment effecting e-business
updated 2002 Dec 16
Bill 88 Ontario Government e-commerce legislation

EĖCommerce Act, 2000

"Bill 88 contains important functional equivalency rules, which help ensure that the use of electronic communication, as opposed to paper documents,does not affect the validity of communications. For example, when the law stipulates that information must be in writing, the electronic equivalent is acceptable if it is "accessible so as to be useable for subsequent reference." 

What is "functional equivalence". 
Gabe Takach, as quoted in a recent article on, says "functional equivalence - boiled down to basics, the principle is little more than a legalistic way of saying contractual relations will not  be unenforceable simply because they are in electronic form."
"Bill 88 includes the following noteworthy features:
  • Electronic Signatures"1 will satisfy written signature requirements.
  • Valid contracts can be made even if the electronic communication is automated at one or both ends of the transaction. The  legislation removes the need for direct human interaction in the formation of contracts.
  • It covers both existing and future technologies by providing a broad definition of "electronic".
  • It does not require a person to use electronic communications without his or her consent. However, consent may be inferred from a personís conduct (e.g. by their actual use of electronic communications)."
from article written by
Gabe Takach. Mr. Takach is a partner at the Toronto law firm of Tory Tory, where he heads up the firmís technology contracting practice.

Where does this Ontario e-commerce legislation come from - and, why do any of these Acts and Laws seem similar around the world?
In Ontario, Bill 88 is based on the Uniform Electronic Commerce Act which was adopted by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada in 1999.The UECA of Canada is in turn, modelled after the United Nations Model Law on Electronic Commerce of 1996.