CANADA’S ANTI-SPAM LEGISLATION
On July 1, 2014, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (often referred to as CASL) came into force, and with it the requirements related to “commercial electronic messages” sent from, or accessed on, a computer system in Canada for the purpose of solicitation of almost any kind. Essentially, the law is intended to protect the public from unsolicited spam messaging sent electronically. It applies to both for-profit and non-profit organizations, and will fundamentally change the way businesses and organizations undertake marketing, fundraising and outreach to potential consumers and supporters.
It is a complicated law, with complex definitions and exceptions. How do you determine whether your marketing or consumer outreach is compliant? First, determine whether your digital contact to an individual is a “commercial electronic message” (CEM), and if so, then determine whether it is exempt from application of CASL by one of the existing exemptions in the Act.
However, CASL permits CEMs to be sent where consent has been obtained and the message contains prescribed information. Consent can be explicit or implicit. If an organization has explicit consent from its recipients, it is expected that the consent will be grandfathered under CASL. If no prior explicit consent exists, in order to obtain it, the organization must ensure the request for consent includes an opt-in for the recipient, clear information on the purpose for consent, identify the sender in some detail and notify the recipient that the consent can be withdrawn.
CASL’s impact is broad-reaching and the penalties for non-compliance will be stringent.
With lawyers who have worked with and provided legal counsel to large and small organizations from the LCBO and AIR MILES® Reward Program to a multitude of entrepreneurial start-up businesses, Cohen LLP can help you navigate this new legislation and ensure your business is compliant with CASL.