Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

Definition & Meaning:

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is a federal law enacted in 2014 to combat spam and other electronic threats in Canada.

It is one of the toughest laws of its kind in the world, designed to protect Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace.

Under CASL, it is illegal to send commercial electronic messages (CEMs), including emails, text messages, social media messages, and other forms of digital communication, without the recipient’s explicit consent.

The law requires that all CEMs must clearly identify the sender, provide a mechanism for recipients to easily unsubscribe from future messages, and obtain prior consent before sending messages.

For example, if you are a business owner wanting to send promotional emails to potential Canadian customers, you must first obtain their permission, and each email must include your contact information and an unsubscribe link.

CASL not only applies to messages sent from within Canada but also to those sent to Canadian recipients from other countries.

This means if your business is based outside of Canada, but you send electronic messages to customers in Canada, you must comply with CASL.

The legislation covers a wide range of electronic threats beyond spam, including malware, spyware, and phishing activities, providing comprehensive protection for electronic communication users.

Violating CASL can result in severe penalties, including fines up to $10 million for businesses and $1 million for individuals.

The legislation is enforced by three Canadian government agencies: the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the Competition Bureau, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

CASL also promotes good business practices by encouraging companies to develop clear and effective policies for electronic communication.

By requiring consent before sending CEMs, CASL helps businesses build trust with their customers, ensuring that people only receive messages they agree to receive, which can enhance customer relationships and brand reputation.