Canada Unveils Anti-Spam Legislation

Effective July 1, 2014

Canada Anti-Spam LawThe Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has finalized the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), effective July 1, 2014. Once the rule is in effect, all commercial electronic messages (CEMs) sent within Canada and into Canada from foreign countries, including the U.S., must meet certain requirements. CEMs include e-mails, automated software updates and text messages sent by mobile phone. Non-compliance under this new legislation will incur significant penalties, including a maximum of $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses.

According to the legislation, all senders of CEMs to Canada must have expressed or implied consent. Under expressed consent, the recipient has given permission, either in writing or orally, to a sender that they will accept CEMs. If express consent is obtained before July 1, 2014, that consent is valid until the recipient actively withdraws it. Implied consent applies where there is an existing relationship, which includes CEM transmission, between the sender and recipient prior to July 1, 2014. Senders have a 36-month transition period after July 1 to obtain express consent.

Besides the consent mandate, all CEMs must also include a clear and simple identification of the sender or the full name of anyone on whose behalf it is being sent. Every CEM must include a way for the recipient to unsubscribe, thereby voiding express or implied consent.

Industry companies in Canada have been working to meet the requirements of the new rule, as well as to understand its impact. “We’ll continue to connect with our customers via e-mail, as long as they want to receive our messages,” said Jennifer Roney, marketing manager for Top 40 distributor Accolade Promotion Group (asi/102905). “The legislation will primarily impact how we set up our online platforms, both our website and CRM, and how we run our national promotional campaigns. We’ll make sure we’re giving customers good reason to opt in, and we’ll ensure any CEMs provide value.”

Danny Braunstein, vice president of sales & business development at Talbot Promo (asi/341500), says his company is taking CASL very seriously, especially in light of the significant monetary penalties. “From an operational standpoint it’s been time-consuming getting up to speed on the new legislation and educating our team and sales partners,” he said. “The unknown at this stage is how it will affect us from a prospecting perspective. The new regulations make it very difficult to acquire new leads.”

For more details about the new law, go to and