CASL is Canada’s anti-spam legislation that was imposed in 2014 in order to protect Canadians from spam and other electronic threats. This general set of rules dictate when and how businesses can send commercial electronic messages (CEM). The implementation of this law was not meant to impede businesses from communicating, rather, to deter and punish spammers.
The official legislation reads “An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act (“The Act”)”.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does CASL apply to me?
CASL applies to anyone who currently does business in Canada, or anyone who is hoping to communicate with Canadians.
How does CASL affect me?
If your business is sending any kind of CEM (commercial electronic message), you must be in compliance. Non compliance could result in serious penalties, including liability, charges and fines up to $10 million.
What is a CEM?
Commercial electronic messages include emails, text messages, electronic ads, voicemails, promotions and instant messages. These are described as “a message whose purpose is to encourage participation in a commercial activity.”
Am I liable if an agency does my email marketing?
If you outsource email marketing (ex: to an agency) and are found non-compliant with CASL, you still hold 100% of the responsibility.
CASL – Canada’s anti-spam legislation.
CEM – commercial electronic message.
Express Consent – a person has clearly and specifically agreed to receive your promotional materials. It does not expire and is valid until consent is withdrawn.
Implied Consent – certain activities can imply consent without needing a formal ‘opt-in’. These include: someone who has purchased or inquired about a service. A customer who has purchased a good or service has implied consent which is valid for 2 years. Someone who has made an inquiry has implied consent that expires after only 6 months.
Opt-in – a person must explicitly express interest in receiving CEMs from your business. This is typically done with a fillable form on a website.
Opt-out – all CEMs must contain an unsubscribe option. Requests for withdrawn consent should be satisfied within 10 days.
Non-compliance – any actions that directly oppose those stated in CASL.
Disclaimer: The aforementioned information is intended to provide a general overview of Canada’s anti-spam legislation and how it affects marketing efforts. It is not intended, nor should be taken, as official legal advice.