What is CASL?

Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) is a federal law regulating spam and other electronic threats. It ensures that Canadians are protected from malicious activities while ensuring that organizations can continue to communicate with their customers online.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC), the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and the federal Competition Bureau share responsibility for enforcing CASL.

CASL applies to any commercial message sent via electronic devices that organizations send to an electronic address. It includes email messages and text messages. However, CASL doesn’t apply to unsolicited telecommunications, such as automated telemarketing emails and live phone calls.

CASL also only applies to messages sent to Canadian recipients. If an organization needs to send electronic messages abroad via email or text message, they need to comply with the foreign country’s anti-spam legislation.

There are three requirements under CASL for sending commercial electronic emails.

  • Obtain express consent – recipients must have given explicit consent, either in writing or orally, to receive commercial electronic messages. You cannot imply that consent was given.
  • Provide identification information – recipients must know the types of messages that they will receive and the purposes of providing consent for commercial electronic messages.
  • Provide the option to unsubscribe from messages – all messages must clearly indicate what recipients need to do to unsubscribe from all commercial electronic messages.

There are a few exemptions to CASL. Some of them include:

  • Commercial electronic messages sent between family and friends.
  • Messages sent within or between organizations with a clear existing B2B relationship.
  • Messages solicited or sent in response to complaints, inquiries, and requests.
  • Messages sent because of a legal obligation or to enforce a right.
  • Organizations can send a single message to obtain express consent for future commercial electronic messages.
  • Messages sent by registered charities asking for fundraising or political parties seeking contributions.

If you need help enforcing CASL for your digital marketing initiatives, contact us for help today.