Cross Roads Art & Photography

Cross Roads Art & Photography


The Canadian Anti-Spam Law


and your business

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…

  1.      Who you are
  2.     Your contact information including the location of your business
  3.    How to 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 legislation.


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 ignore it. 


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…

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