CASL stands for Canada’s Anti-Spam Law. It went into effect on July 1, 2014. This law is similar to that of the United States version, CAN-SPAM. This law applies to all electronic messages that organizations, businesses, etc send that contain commercial activity or CEM. Failure to comply with CASL can result in fines ranging from $1-10 million per violation.
A CEM is a commercial electronic message. These messages usually contain details regarding a sale or promotion, or a coupon or gift code. This excludes messages that contain hyperlinks to websites or business-related information. Messages must be sent to electronic addresses in order to be caught by CASL. An electronic address includes: emails, instant messages, text messages, and some social media communications such as Instagram’s “Direct Message” feature. In order to receive CEMs, recipients must express consent. They are able to do this either orally or written. Written consent can be electronic, such as an email or text message.
There are some messages that are exempt from CASL. These include:
- Messages between family members or those with an established relationship
- Messages between employees or staff members within your organization
- Responses to a current customer or someone that has inquired within the past six months
- Messages that will be opened outside the country such as the U.S., China, and most of Europe
- Messages sent on behalf of a charity or non-profit organization
- Messages attempting to enforce a legal right or order
- Messages that provide information about a warranty, recall, or safety information about a product
- Messages that contain information about a subscription or monthly service
- A single message to someone based on a referral. The name of the referring person must be present in the message.
Implied vs. Express Consent
Implied consent is a looser interpretation whereas express consent requires consent from the recipient. Implied consent messages included are as follows:
- Recipient purchased a product, service, or was involved with another business deal, contract, or membership within the last 24 months
- You are a charity or non-profit organization and a recipient made a donation or gift, volunteered, or attended a meeting organized by you
- Professional message sent to an email address that was given or obtained by you, or published, and the recipient hasn’t published or told you that they don’t want to receive unsolicited messages.
Express consent is required for CEMs that are not included underneath implied consent. In your request for consent you must include the following information:
- A clear and concise description and purpose for the messages you intend to send
- Requestor’s name and contact information -- for example: email address, physical address, phone number, website URL, etc.,
- A statement that allows the recipient to unsubscribe from the messages at any time
About the Canada Anti-Spam Law (CASL). (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2020, from https://mailchimp.com/help/about-the-canada-anti-spam-law-casl/