The who, what, where, when and why of Canadian Spam Law.

What are we talking about?
New changes to Canada’s anti-spam law! This newly implemented legislation could affect your organization and the way you communicate to new contacts. The law defines two distinct types of consent for receiving a commercial electronic message; implied and expressed. Implied consent includes when a recipient has purchased a product, service or made another business deal, contract or membership with your organization in the last 24 months.

  • You are a registered charity or political organization, and the recipient has made a donation or gift, has volunteered, or attended a meeting organized by you.
  • A professional message is sent to someone whose email address was given to you, or is conspicuously published, and who hasn’t published or told you that they don’t want unsolicited messages.

When does this law take effect?
There is a transition period, lasting until July 1, 2017, during which your organization may continue to send messages to recipients from whom you have implied consent, unless they unsubscribe. After the 2017 cut-off date, you may only send to recipients with express consent or whose implied consent is currently valid under CASL—that is, 24 months after a purchase or six months after an inquiry

Who is doing this extremely well?
Well by law, in Canada, everyone should be!

Why does it matter?
The law targets damaging and deceptive forms of spam, which is defined as any electronic commercial message sent without the express consent of the recipient(s). Charities and nonprofits are not excluded from these new laws, so if you use electronic networks to promote or market your organization, you need to take note of the changes.

Action will be taken against any organization found to:

  • Send commercial electronic messages without the recipient’s consent. This includes emails, social networking messages and text messages to a mobile device.
  • Alter transmission data in an electronic message which results in the message being delivered to a different destination without express consent. This includes directing users to websites they did not intend to visit and other illegal activities that target internet users.
  • Install computer programs without express consent of the computer owner or authorized employee. This includes malware, spyware and viruses installed with computer programs, hidden in spam messages or downloaded through links to infected websites.

There will also be monetary penalties or criminal sanctions to any organization found to:

  • Use false or misleading representations online in the promotion of products of services. This includes misleading sender or subject matter information, electronic messages and locator information such as URLs and metadata.

Where can I learn more?
The Canadian Government has a quiz you can take, located here.

And check out these other helpful resources:

Full text of the law

Tips to protect your business/org