June 2014

Canada's Anti-Spam Law

Most of the provisions of Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL) will come into effect on July 1, 2014.

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CASL is under federal jurisdiction and therefore applies across Canada. It covers those who send out commercial electronic messages (CEMs), alter transmission data and create and install computer programs.

The overriding goal of CASL is to protect Canadians against unsolicited commercial electronic messages, the unauthorized alteration of transmission data, the unauthorized installation of computer programs, the use of false or misleading representations online and the unauthorized collection of personal information and electronic addresses accessed through a computer system in violation of federal law.

In an effort to strengthen this objective, CASL sets out offences that can lead to penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment.

One of the provisions of CASL prohibits the sending of CEMs without the prior consent of the recipient and stipulates that the messages must include information that identifies the sender and an option to unsubscribe.

Therefore, as of July 1, 2014, all businesses must obtain the express consent of the recipients and enable them to withdraw their consent and unsubscribe from the distribution list.

This is one of the many provisions of CASL.

To prevent any offences under the law, we recommend that all our clients consult CASL, which is available on the Web sites of the Government of Canada and the CRTC, which is responsible for enforcing the law (see links below).

Clients may also contact our business law group for more information on how CASL will impact their organization.