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  • CASL

    Canada’s anti-spam legislation

  • What is CASL?
  • What is CASL?

    According to the Canadian Governments website, Fight Spam, Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) was put in place to protect Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace.

    Read More

    The law came into effect on July 1, 2014.

    • You cannot send a commercial electronic message if you don’t at least have implied consent.
    • You have 36 months from July 2014 to obtain express consent from your past clients and customers.
    • You can now report spam. Report spam here.

    As a Canadian operating a business in Canada, it is your duty to understand and comply with the law.

The Basics

If you:

  • Use email, social media, SMS/instant messaging
  • to send commercial or promotional information
  • to customers / prospects
  • Carry out business activities in or from Canada

Then the following should be taken into consideration:

The law applies to Commercial Electronic Messages, also referred to as CEMs. A CEM is a message that encourages customers or prospects to participate in a commercial activity. A commercial activity includes but is not limited to the following: offering, advertising or promoting a product, service or a person. Click here to see an example.

To send a CEM, you must:

1. Have the recipient’s consent

Consent:

Consent is the permission for something to happen or an agreement to do something. You are required to have some type of consent from your customers / prospects.

There are 2 types of consent: Express consent and Implied consent

Implied

Existing business relationship

There is an existing business relationship

Relationship

Between you (the sender) and your customer / prospect (the recipient). The recipient has placed an order or enquired about one of your products. There is a record of your company dealing with the customer / prospect either in the form of a contract, purchase order, email or phone call.

Recipient’s email was conspicuously published or sent to you

The email address was disclosed without any restrictions and your message relates to the recipient’s functions or activities in a business or unofficial capacity.

Express

Valid consent given in writing or orally

The recipient gave you a positive or explicit indication of consent to receive commercial electronic messages. Your request for consent set out clearly and simply the prescribed information.

IMPORTANT

Keep Records

Keep records of all communications with your customers / prospects pertaining to consent. You must be able to provide a trail of how you obtained implied or express consent, since in both cases you have the onus to prove consent. Should your practices be challenged in a court of law, this record keeping will be crucial in proving your innocence.

Time Limit

Express consent is not time-limited. For example, consent from 5 years ago is valid up until the point in time in which the recipient withdraws his or her consent.

Implied consent is time-limited. It is valid for a period of 2 years after the event that starts the relationship (order placed, email inquiry, contract, etc.). Note that certain conditions apply. Refer to the Legislations and its associated Regulations for more information.

How can I obtain express consent?

Consent in writing or verbally suffices. In both cases, it is the responsibility of the person sending the message to prove they have obtained consent to send the message. Be sure to consider the following when tracking or recording consent as it will make it easier to prove:

  • Whether consent was obtained in writing or orally;
  • When it was obtained (date, time, place);
  • Why it was obtained;
  • The manner in which it was obtained.

Someone gives me a business card: Is that clear consent to add them to my distribution list?

You may have their implied consent to send CEMs, as long as the following conditions are met:

  • The message relates to the recipient’s role, functions or duties in an official or business capacity; and
  • The recipient has not made a statement when handing you the business card that they do not wish to receive promotional or marketing messages

2. Cleary identify yourself and your organization

Each commercial electronic message (CEM) must include:

  • Your official mailing address
  • Company phone number
  • Company email address
  • Web address

3. Offer an unsubscribe mechanism

Each CEM must include an unsubscribe mechanism that is functional for 60 days. An example of an unsubscribe mechanism would be a hyperlink that is included clearly and prominently in an email that allows your customer / prospect to unsubscribe by simply clicking it.

4. Be truthful

Your messages must not be false or misleading. They must not have false or misleading sender information, subject matter information, URLs and/or metadata. The content of your message must also be easily interpreted and cause no confusion to the recipient.

  • Violating CASL May Result in Heavy Fines For your Business
  • Violating CASL May Result in Heavy Fines For your Business

    From the Fight Spam website:

    Legitimate complaints about unsolicited emails may be turned over to the CRTC, which may investigate to determine if the message violates CASL.

    If you are judged to be in violation, the CRTC has a range of enforcement tools available. There are no automatic penalties for violations. The CRTC judges each case based on a series of factors, including the nature of the violation, your history with CASL, whether you benefited financially from the violation and your ability to pay a penalty.

    Penalties for the most serious violations of the Act can go as high as $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses. Civil cases cannot be brought before the courts until July 2017.

4 Tips for Contacting Clients Electronically

3 Things to Think About When Sending Messages

Take the Fight Spam Quiz for Businesses

 

CASL FAQ

CASL FAQ

CASL Webinar

CASL Webinar

Fight Spam Website

Fight Spam Website

Report Spam

Report Spam

Fast Facts About: the Law

Fast Facts About: the Law

The Law and Regulations

The Law and Regulations

 

Disclaimer

This website provides plain language information about the law and should therefore not serve as a substitute for the law itself. This page will provide you with a basic understanding of CASL. The law affects every person and every business differently. This page is a general information page and PPPC is in no way interpreting the law nor providing advice on how to comply. You are strongly advised to seek your own legal advice regarding how to comply. Sources: fightspam.gc.ca and crtc.gc.ca. Compliance will be examined on a case-by-case basis in light of the specific circumstances of a given situation.