In short, CASL requires a sender to obtain consent to send a
commercial electronic message (CEM). Subject to certain exemptions
set out in the act and the regulations, such as exemptions for
existing family and business relationships, organizations will be
prohibited from sending CEMs. In addition, express consent is
required for software installed on another person's computer
system in the course of a commercial activity. CASL gives
regulatory oversight and enforcement powers to the CRTC and confers
a private right of action.
Important new information in this announcement includes a
phasing-in plan. The provisions in CASL related to computer
programs will come into force on January 15, 2015. Further, to help
organizations understand CASL compliance and reduce uncertainty in
application, the private right of action will not be enacted until
July 1, 2017 (three years from the initial enactment of CASL).
In addition, Industry Canada has stated an intention to issue
compliance guidelines. One noted example that requires further
interpretation is what lies at CASL's heart, namely the
definition of a CEM. Industry Canada has indicated that CEMs will
be interpreted to exclude surveys, polling, newsletters, and
messages soliciting charitable donations, or political activities
that do not encourage participation in a commercial activity.
However, it is a CEM if it is reasonable to conclude that one of
its purposes is to encourage the recipient to engage in additional
commercial activities. This could be based on other commercial
content, hyperlinks or contact information in the communication. If
it is reasonable to conclude that one of the purposes of the
message is to advertise, promote, market or otherwise offer a
product, good, service, business, gaming opportunity or interest in
land, these messages will be CEMs. Under the regulations, a message
sent by a charity for the primary purpose of raising funds for the
charity is not a CEM.
The Government is promising a "Spam Reporting Centre",
as well as education and awareness campaigns before the law comes
What should businesses be doing to get ready for a
Identifying and assessing the sorts of CEMs the organization
sends, their purposes, form, and the intended recipients.
Establishing data management systems appropriate for the
organization that will manage and preserve a record of the various
consents that may be required and/or apply to the businesses'
relationships and CEMs.
Obtaining and confirming CASL compliant consents, if necessary.
Existing opt-out consent regimes that may currently satisfy privacy
requirements will probably not be sufficient.
Identifying exceptions that may apply and how to put them to
Reformatting CEMs to ensure they are CASL compliant. For
example, unsubscribe mechanisms and sender information must be
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.
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Software license agreements generally require the customer to pay fees for the software license and related services, which fees are usually based upon the duration of the license and the manner in which the customer is allowed to use the software, together with applicable taxes and withholdings.
In less than nine months, on July 1, 2017, persons affected by a contravention of Canada's anti-spam legislation will be able to invoke a private right of action to sue for compensation and potentially substantial statutory damages.
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