Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation


Is Your Business in Compliance?

eXtra Contact has always been an advocate for responsible online communications and we hope that this new legislation reduces the amount of spam which arrives in all of our inboxes.

If you are a business owner who needs assistance upgrading your email marketing program to comply with these new laws, we would be pleased to help. Email or give us a call at 604-985-3283.

Many business owners are wondering how this new legislation will affect their business. Here are the essential facts you need to know…

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)‎

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) establishes rules for the sending of Commercial Electronic ‎Messages (CEMs). The rules that apply to CEMs come into force on July 1, 2014.‎

Who does CASL affect?‎

CASL applies to everyone, individuals, incorporated and unincorporated businesses, not-for-profit ‎organizations, etc. Anyone who sends electronic messages for commercial purposes.‎

What is Commercial Electronic Message (CEM)?‎

CASL defines a CEM as a message that encourages participation in a commercial activity. This includes ‎advertisements and information about promotions, offers, business opportunities, events, etc. Electronic ‎messages can include emails, SMS text messages, instant messages and messages sent through social ‎networks.‎

What is Express Consent?‎

Express consent means someone directly gave you permission to send them CEMs. This means that ‎they have knowingly opted in to receiving future CEMs from your business. People may provide express consent by digitally opting on your company website or in written form by ‎signing up at a conference or networking event.‎ (Note: All opt-in records must be kept by the business and provided as proof in the instance of a dispute.)

What is Implied Consent?‎

Implied consent means it would be reasonable to conclude you have someone’s permission to send ‎him/her a CEM based on prior relationships. This typically means your have had a business relationship ‎with 2-way communication recorded within the past 2 years ago.‎

What is no longer allowed under CASL?‎

After July 1, 2014, it is prohibited to send CEMs to anyone ‎who has not given consent to receive them and to whom one had no recent business relationship. This includes the buying of email lists which include people who have not given consent to be contacted.

Furthermore, business can no longer send CEMs to people who have submitted their email another purposes. For example, a business may not add a contact to their general database if ‎they have submitted their email address for the specific purpose of entering a draw, receiving coupons or completing a ‎survey.‎

What do business owners need to do to comply with the law?‎

Include an Unsubscribe Link & Contact Information in all CEMs: All electronic communications must ‎contain an unsubscribe link and your full businesses contact information, including your mailing address and ‎phone/email information.‎

Keep Full Records of all Contacts who have Opted-In: All businesses must do their due diligence by ‎keeping accurate records of who has opted in to their database, including opt-in dates and full contact ‎information. They must also keep records of all communications with clients to prove ‎there has been a two-way business relationship within the past 2 years. Under CASL, business owners ‎must be able to prove that express or implied consent has been given for each email in their database.‎


CASL does not apply to internal business email within a company or by affiliated companies. It is limited ‎to commercial purposes and does not affect personal emails sent to friends and family members.‎

View the CASL Database Checklist

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