Canada: Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation Coming Into Force In 2014: Are You Ready?

Last Updated: December 6 2013
Article by Bernice Karn, Christopher Hersh, Imran Ahmad and Chad Matheson

Yesterday, the Minister of Industry announced that the bulk of Canada's anti-spam law ("CASL") will come into force on July 1, 2014, while the remaining provisions will be gradually phased-in by 2017. Subject to limited exceptions, CASL prohibits businesses from sending commercial electronic messages ("CEMs") unless a prior express "opt-in" consent from the recipient has been obtained.

Please see our previous eLerts for more background on CASL (read eLerts from February 1, 2011, July 28, 2011, April 25, 2012, October 11, 2012 and January 8, 2013).


CASL was introduced in 2010 but its commencement date was delayed while its two sets of associated regulations where being finalized. The Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission registered the final version of its regulations on March 12, 2012, and Industry Canada, following a lengthy consultation period, released its final version of the Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations on December 4, 2013 (collectively, the "Regulations"). CASL, the Regulations, and the related guidelines will govern how businesses communicate with Canadian recipients of CEMs. Given its reach (it also applies to CEMs originating from outside of Canada) and the significant penalties for non-compliance (including Administrative Monetary Penalties of up to $10 million), CASL will have an important impact on how businesses communicate with consumers in the digital age.

What Should Businesses Know?

The Regulations define key legal concepts in CASL and provide limited exemptions from the requirement to obtain consent prior to sending CEMs. In particular, the final version of the Industry Canada regulations addresses some of the concerns raised by stakeholders during the consultation period. Such final Industry Canada regulations provide the following key differences from the previous version:

  • a definition of "family relationship" was narrowed to only include individuals related though marriage, common-law partnership or legal parent-child relationship. This definition no longer allows for CEMs to be sent between siblings or between relatives such as aunts and uncles to nieces and nephews without complying with CASL; 
  • further categories of computer programs were added as exemptions from the consent requirements under CASL; and 
  • additional categories of CEMs were exempted from the consent requirement: 
    • Messaging Platforms: CEMs sent or received on certain platforms (e.g. instant messaging platforms), where CASL required identification information and unsubscribe mechanisms are clearly indicated and available on such platform; 
    • Limited Access Accounts: CEMs sent to a limited-access secure and confidential account to which messages can only be sent by the person who provides the account to the person who receives the message (e.g., email accounts on electronic banking platforms); 
    • Foreign Recipient: CEMs sent to foreign recipients, where the sender reasonably believes the CEM will be accessed in a foreign jurisdiction listed in the Regulations and where the CEM conforms to the law of that jurisdiction;
    • Charities: CEMs sent on behalf of a registered charity for the purpose of soliciting donations; and 
    • Political Parties: CEMS sent on behalf of a political party for the purpose of soliciting contributions.

The Industry Canada regulations also permit organizations to obtain consent on behalf of unknown third parties as long as in CEMs sent by those third parties: (i) the CEM identifies the original person who obtained the consent; and (ii) the CEM contains an unsubscribe mechanism that meets the requirements of Section 11 of CASL and allows the person who provided the consent to withdraw it, both from the person who originally obtained the consent and any other person who is authorized to use it. According to the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement from Industry Canada, when a person withdraws his or her consent to receive CEMs from third parties, the onus is on the person who originally collected the consent to notify those other third parties.

Further, the Industry Canada regulations also provide an exclusion from the consent requirements for CEMs sent by employees, representatives, consultants or franchisees of an organization to other employees, representatives, consultants or franchisees of that organization if the message "concerns the activities of the organization" or if the message is sent to employees, representatives, consultants or franchisees of another organization if the two organizations have "a relationship" and the CEM concerns the activities of the receiving organization. Given the great lengths to which CASL and the Industry Canada regulation have gone to define "existing business relationship", "existing non-business relationship", "family relationship" and "personal relationship", it is interesting that this exemption is so broadly framed as to apply in the context of simply "a relationship".

CASL will be phased-in in three parts. The first part, which includes the bulk of CASL requirements relating to CEMs, will come into force on July 1, 2014. The second part, which relates to computer program provisions, will come into force the following year on January 15, 2015. The final part, which relates to the private right of action, is scheduled to come into force on July 1, 2017.

Due to its wide-reaching ambit and the significant Administrative Monetary Penalties in case of violations, CASL imposes substantial requirements on businesses that rely on CEMs as part of their business strategy. Given that the Regulations have now been finalized and the implementation date has been announced, businesses should ensure that their internal policies, practice and protocols comply with CASL. It is noteworthy that CASL will also apply to businesses located outside of Canada that send CEMs to Canadian recipients.

For a copy of Industry Canada's press release announcing the Regulation and the coming into for date, please click here.

For a copy of the Regulations, please click here.

For access to the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement, please click here.

To access Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation Website, please click here.

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.

Bernice Karn
Christopher Hersh
Imran Ahmad
Chad Matheson
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Sign Up
Gain free access to lawyers expertise from more than 250 countries.
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Newsalert
Select Topics
Select Regions
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