Canada’s Anti-Spam Law Enforceable on July 1

In just a few short weeks, key provisions of one of the most stringent anti-spam regimes in the world, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), will come into force. CASL is a tough new law meant to crack down on unwanted emails and texts, and will apply to companies and organizations worldwide. CASL prohibits the sending of a commercial electronic message (CEM) to an electronic address unless the recipient has consented to receiving it and the message itself complies with the prescribed form and content requirements.
A CEM is broadly defined as an electronic message (e.g., email, text or social media message) designed to encourage participation in a commercial activity, whether or not the person who carries it out does so with the expectation of profit.

In general, consent to receive a CEM must be express. To be valid, a request for express consent must be sought separately and must clearly and simply include:
•    The purpose for which consent is sought.
•    Specific information about the person seeking consent and, if applicable, the person on whose behalf consent is being sought.
•    A statement offering the recipient an option to withdraw their consent.

The potential penalties for non-compliance are significant and include administrative monetary penalties of up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for corporations per violation. 

How can you get consent? Consent can be written or oral. If companies want to request consent electronically, through email for example, they need to reach out to clients and customers by July 1 with the ability to opt-in. That may include having the customer check a box that says they’re willing to receive electronic communications.  After July 1, this process will no longer be allowed and will be considered an offence. Those companies without consent by July 1 will need to attain it through other means, such as via a telephone call or old-fashioned snail mail.

The following resource will help prepare your organization for compliance:
Government of Canada’s Resource Centre for Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation