If you send any commercial electronic messages to
other companies or to your customers and you are not quite familiar with it,
you should be.
This information is provided solely to call your
attention to some of the requirements, and it should not be construed as
offering legal advice.
Here are some of the key points…
CASL covers email, text, instant messages
and automated cell phone messages that are sent to computers or cell phones in
Canada. That’s pretty well everything.
For purposes of CASL, a CEM (Commercial Electronic Message) is any
message sent by a business that intends or aims to encourage the recipient to
engage in or participate in a commercial activity. Basically, any form of communication that
seeks to pull in customers. This means
that even an email to introduce your company to another company is a CEM.
These messages can only be sent to someone who has given you prior
consent to receive them. Consequently,
you must secure consent by other means such as by telephone, regular mail,
personal conversation or by attracting people to your website or through social
media. Such consent is only valid if
there is record you can show of it.
There are some forms of implied consent you may use with someone
you already have a business relationship with, but even then you will need to
receive explicit consent in order to be safe.
Any CEM you send to people when you have explicit consent
must still satisfy these three requirements…
Who you are
information including the location of your business
unsubscribe from further communication from you
Canada was the last of the
G20 countries to pass anti spam legislation and it is considered the toughest
in the world. The law is classified as a
full opt-in consent model. The similar
US law (ironically called the CAN-SPAM Act) has one major difference, it is an
opt-out model so you may send commercial emails without prior consent, but must
allow recipients to unsubscribe.
The EU, by comparison is
opt-out when marketing to business, but opt-in to individuals. But, some countries have additional
So, while on the surface
the CASL requirements seem rather onerous and will likely increase your
expenses, they will also encourage more creativity and thoughtfulness in marketing
to fellow Canadians. A good
understanding of CASL is essential and good records must be kept of consent
data. It could be a big mistake to
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce
offers access to the excellent and readable Anti-Spam Toolkit prepared by
McCarthy Tétrault a well known Canadian law firm. The link is available here…