Since the CASL Regulations were released in December 2013, there
has been considerable debate and uncertainty as to the precise
scope of the exemption from the consent and content requirements
under CASL for electronic messages sent by or on behalf of a
registered charity that have a primary purpose of raising funds for
On June 5, 2014, Industry Canada was reported as having provided
its interpretation of CASL's fundraising exemption.
Specifically, Industry Canada reportedly clarified that the phrase
"primary purpose of raising funds" would apply to a
number of activities engaged in by charities that extended beyond
the Canada Revenue Agency's definition of
"fundraising". Over two weeks later, however, the
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
– the government agency responsible for the enforcement of
CASL – has advised that there are inconsistencies in
Industry Canada's reported interpretation of the exemption and
that of the CRTC. However, the CRTC has provided little detail as
to the specifics of the inconsistencies.
Differing interpretations as a result of fairly vague language
is just one of the frustrating complications inherent to CASL
– a piece of legislation which was drafted by Industry
Canada, but is to be enforced by the CRTC. Likely as a result
of the relatively ambiguous application of CASL to registered
charities, the CRTC has confirmed it will be releasing a FAQ
document pertaining to registered charities in the coming
weeks. While any guidance will be welcomed in the industry,
the release of such a document after CASL's in force date is
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
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