CASL regulates sending electronic messages, altering
transmission data, installing computer programs and collection of
personal information – without consent, and making false or
misleading representations for on-line promotions.
This document will focus on sending commercial electronic
The threshold issue is to determine if the message is a
commercial electronic message.
If the message contains:
a link to a website;
a signature block referring to your organization, or
any content that could be considered commercial, promotional or
THEN it is likely a Commercial Electronic Message.
Three Requirements for CEMs:
There are 3 key requirements for sending CEMs in order to comply
1.Consent from the recipient:
the onus is on the sender to prove they have consent.
opt-out consents are not allowed.
clearly identify sender and sender's contact information
(name, company, address, phone number, e-mail).
clearly inform the recipient of the right to unsubscribe from
receiving future messages.
must be clearly and prominently set out.
unsubscribe must occur within 10 days of request.
Exceptions to Consent Only:
The following CEMs do not require consent but
still require Information and Unsubscribe details in the CEM.
responding to a request for a quote or estimate;
respecting a commercial transaction previously agreed to;
providing warranty , product recall or safety information about
goods or services purchased;
providing information about an ongoing subscription, loan or
providing information about employment or employment
providing information about updates or upgrades of goods or
services previously sold to the recipient;
to a recipient who conspicuously published their electronic
address (eg. business card, website, etc.)
to a recipient who disclosed their electronic address (eg. in a
conversation or letter);
sent to a referral from a common contact but only the first
Exceptions to CASL Compliance:
Some CEMs are exempt from CASL compliance altogether. Following
are the exempt CEMs. CEMs:
from one person to another person if they have a personal or
containing an inquiry or application for a commercial
sent within an organization about that organization's
sent from your business to another business about business
containing a response to a request, inquiry or complaint;
regarding judicial obligations or orders;
sent by a charity IF the primary purpose is raising funds for
the charity (BUT all other CEMs from the charity must comply with
from a political party or candidate soliciting a campaign
There are serious consequences for failing to comply with CASL.
CASL contains significant monetary penalties, a private right of
action, officers and directors liability and vicarious liability of
a corporation for the actions of its employees and agents.
Individuals and organizations may be able to rely upon a due
diligence defence against claims of non-compliance but you will
have to demonstrate that you have taken pro-active steps to
establish policies, procedures and processes to address CASL
compliance and then monitor and enforce those policies.
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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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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