Who has to follow 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 communicating 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 compliance is required by law. Any public or private business, ministries or government agencies, or nonprofit organizations that send commercial electronic messages to recipients located in Canada must follow CASL.

Commercial electronic messages include:

  • Any message in electronic format, including emails, instant messages, text messages, and social media communications.
  • Messages that are sent to an electronic address in Canada, including email addresses, instant messaging accounts, phone accounts, and social media accounts.
  • Messages that encourage recipients to participate in any commercial activity, including the promotion of products, services, companies, etc.

There are also a few exemptions to CASL. For example:

  • Unsolicited telecommunications, such as automated telemarketing emails and live phone calls.
  • Fax messages and numbers.
  • Messages sent by someone who has a family or personal relationship with the recipient.
  • Messages sent in response to a request or inquiry.
  • Messages sent abroad need to comply with the receiving country’s anti-spam legislation.
  • Messages sent by registered charities asking for fundraising or political parties seeking contributions.

For organizations to follow CASL, they must satisfy three requirements:

  • Obtain express consent – you cannot imply or assume that consent was given by the recipient.
  • Provide identification information – recipients must know the types of messages and purposes of providing consent.
  • Provide the option to unsubscribe from messages – all messages must clearly indicate an option for recipients to unsubscribe.

If you need help becoming CASL compliant, contact us for help today.