Canada: Canada’s Anti-Spam Law Expected To Come Into Force In 2013

Bill C-28, commonly referred to as Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation or "CASL", was passed by the Canadian Parliament in December 2010 and will likely come into force in 2013. This bulletin provides an overview of the anti-spam regime set out in CASL as it stands at the date of publication of this bulletin. A second Blakes Bulletin published concurrently with this bulletin, provides an overview of two recent CRTC guidance documents.


The anti-spam provisions of CASL prohibit, subject to limited exceptions, the sending of a "commercial electronic message" (CEM) unless the recipient has consented to receiving the message and the message meets certain form and content requirements. A CEM is an electronic message that has as its purpose, or one of its purposes, to encourage participation in a commercial activity. This legislation will significantly impact the electronic marketing practices of companies in Canada and foreigners sending CEMs to Canadians.

Unlike the "opt-out" regime of the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States, CASL requires that senders of CEMs obtain consent before sending the message. Further, an electronic message requesting consent to send a CEM is itself a CEM and therefore, once CASL comes into force, such CEMs cannot be sent without prior consent. There are certain limited exemptions to the prior consent requirement where, for example, the CEM is sent solely to provide a requested quote or estimate, facilitate or confirm a previously agreed upon commercial transaction, provide warranty or safety information, provide factual information about an ongoing subscription or membership, provide information regarding an employment relationship or to deliver a product, good or service under a prior transaction. The Act also provides for the regulations to set out additional exemptions to the consent requirement. To date, no such exemptions have been set out. Such CEMs must still comply with the form and content requirements.

CASL sets out a specific set of circumstances where the consent of the recipient to receive a CEM may be implied. For example, consent can be implied where there is an existing business relationship between the sender and the recipient (such as where a consumer has made a purchase from the sender within the past two years) or an existing non-business relationship (such as membership in a club or volunteer work). The legislation sets out the exact circumstances in which an existing business relationship or an existing non-business relationship may be held to exist. Consent can also be implied where the recipient has conspicuously published his or her address (for example, on a professional website) or has disclosed his or her address to the sender and has not, in either case, indicated he or she does not wish to receive unsolicited CEMs and the CEM relates to the recipient's business role or function. In all other instances, consent must be express.

In addition to being exempt from consent requirements, the following types of CEMs are also exempt from the form and content requirements, i.e., a CEM:

  • that is sent by or on behalf of an individual to another individual with whom they have a personal or family relationship;
  • that is sent to a person engaged in a commercial activity and consists solely of an inquiry or application related to that activity; or
  • that is of a class, or is sent in circumstances, specified in the regulations (to date, no such circumstances have been specified).

Please refer to our April 2011 Blakes Bulletin for a more detailed discussion of the legislation.


In the summer of 2011, draft regulations were published by the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and Industry Canada (IC), and were open for public consultation. The regulations published by the CRTC were finalized in March 2012. However, given the significant concerns raised during the consultation process by industry regarding the IC regulations (including concerns that the draft regulations did not sufficiently clarify obligations or exempt certain activities from being considered spam), IC will be publishing a second version of draft regulations which will likely be subject to a further public comment period before being finalized. We expect such draft regulations to include additional exemptions to both the consent and the form and content requirements. As of the date of publication of this bulletin, the second version of the draft IC regulations has not yet been published but is expected to be published imminently.


The CRTC regulations set out form and content requirements for both (1) requests for express consent to send CEMs and (2) the CEMs themselves. The final CRTC regulations address some of the concerns raised in the consultation period following the publication of the draft CRTC regulations. A request for express consent to send CEMs must set out clearly and simply the purpose or purposes for which the consent is being sought as well as:

  • the name of the person seeking consent
  • if the consent is being sought on behalf of another person, the name of the person on whose behalf consent is being sought
  • a statement indicating which person is seeking consent and which person on whose behalf consent is being sought
  • the mailing address and one of a telephone number providing access to an agent or voice message system, or an email address, or a web address of the person seeking consent
  • a statement that the person may withdraw their consent.

Although the legislation is not yet in force, given that the CRTC regulations are finalized, where an organization has the opportunity to collect email addresses, it would be prudent to include with that collection an express request for consent to send future CEMs and to structure that request in a way that meets the form and content requirements.

The CRTC regulations also set out the form and content requirements that any CEM must meet once CASL is in force. A CEM must include:

  • the name of the person sending the message
  • if the message is being sent on behalf of another person, the name of the person on whose behalf the message is being sent
  • a statement indicating which person is sending the message and which person on whose behalf the message is being sent
  • the mailing address and one of a telephone number providing access to an agent or voice message system, or an email address, or a web address of the person sending the message or the person on whose behalf the message is sent.

If it is not practical to include all of this information in a CEM, the required information may be posted on a readily accessible web page that is provided to the recipient of the message, free of charge, "by means of a link that is clearly and prominently set out in the message". CEMs must also include an unsubscribe mechanism that must be "able to be readily performed" (in contrast to the requirement in the draft regulations that it be able to be performed in "two clicks").


It is expected that once the IC regulations are finalized, there will be some period of delay before the legislation comes into force to allow companies time to bring their practices into compliance with the law.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
16 Oct 2018, Seminar, Toronto, Canada

Join Blakes lawyers for our 10th annual overview of recent legal and regulatory developments and practical strategies to navigate the changing regulation of Canada’s payments industry.

26 Oct 2018, Other, Vancouver, Canada

Cybersecurity, including data privacy and security obligations, has become a critical chapter in every company’s risk management playbook.

30 Oct 2018, Other, Toronto, Canada

Please join us for discussions on recent updates and legal developments in pension and employee benefits as well as employment law issues.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions