Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

On July 1, 2014, Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) went into effect. This law, which is similar to the United States' CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, has several requirements that affect Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM) including emails. While Informz cannot provide legal advice (remember, we are email specialists, not lawyers!), we can still make sure that you are aware of the law so that you and your legal team can follow up as necessary!

Requirements

There are several key requirements for CASL. These include:

  • Accurate header information
  • Clear identification of yourself and your organization (sending address)
  • Clear opportunities for clients/customers to unsubscribe from your communications (unsubscribe links)
  • Proof of explicit or implied consent from subscribers to receive messages

The last point above (explicit or implied consent) is critical to understand - you can't send a message without your subscribers saying "Yes, you can contact me!" This means, for example, that you cannot automatically opt-in subscribers on subscription forms with pre-checked interests. And, while existing business relationships may suffice as implied consent, these are often difficult to track. Ultimately, It boils down to this: you cannot send messages without some form of the recipient's consent.

Who and What is Affected?

CASL affects any individual, business, organization, etc. that sends CEM. It applies to all CEM including:

  • Email
  • Instant Messaging
  • Social Media
  • Text Messages/SMS

Remember, no type of organization (including charities, non-profits, etc.), is exempt! If you use CEM to promote your organization, CASL affects you.

What Can I Do?

According to the Government of Canada's Official Web Page on CASL, there are a few things you can do to "maintain the trust and confidence of your clients."

  • Do not send messages without consent.
  • Provide a chance to unsubscribe.
  • Identify yourself and your organization.
  • Be truthful in all advertising.

To learn more about CASL, navigate to the following URL: http://www.fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home