Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) : What you need to know

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL), anti-spam provisions originally came into force on July 1, 2014 and the three year transitional period began. Now, this past Canada day (July 1, 2017), the private right of action came into force. This marked the end of the transitional period for commercial electronic messages (CEM) and the three year mandatory review for CASL is now triggered.

CASL is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations. This law covers all commercial messages, and not just bulk emails, like many assume. Commercial messages are defined by the law as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. CEMs must be sent to an electronic address to be caught by CASL.


The reason for the law, is to safeguard Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace. Some experts believe that the law could be useful in protecting against some serious harms, including instances of ransomware victims paying the ransom fee and other frauds. However, many organizations are concerned over the repercussions. Under CASL, those who send CEMs without a recipient’s consent — including to social networking accounts and text messages to cellphones — can be hit with stiff fines. To send a CEM, organizations need express consent from recipients—either orally or in writing. Written consent can be electronic. Companies need to ensure they have a process in place to evaluate their implied consent subscribers, and remove them prior to the sending any CEMs, now that the July 1st, 2017 deadline has passed. Organizations that do not obey with CASL risk serious consequences, which may include criminal charges, civil charges, personal liability for company officers and directors, and penalties up to $10 million.


More information about the law can be found here:


It is your duty to understand and comply with the law. For any questions on how your business can be compliant with this, and all of Canada’s legislation, please consider contacting a KI DESIGN consultant. With over 17 years of experience in corporate compliance, our consultants can help your organization stay ahead of policy changes and changing industry standards. For more information, please visit:









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