Understanding CASL – Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

Recently I came across this series of InfoGraphics created by the Canadian Government to explain Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). This next part might be difficult, but try to look past the obscene blandness of these diagrams, they contain a good explanation of CASL and what you need to do to comply.  Keep in mind that this is only a synopsis, some specific conditions may require you to refer to the Legislation and its Regulations. Full text of Canada's anti-spam law.

What is a CEM or Commercial Electronic Message?

CASL - Commercial Electronic Message - CEM

What is a CEM or Commercial Electronic Message?

Under CASL, a CEM or a Commercial Electronic Message is a message that encourages participation in a commercial activity, including, but not limited to an offering, advertising or promoting a product, a service or a person.

Examples Include:

  • Email
  • Sms text message
  • Instant messaging

Is My Existing Express Consent Valid?

CASL - Is My Existing Express Consent Valid

CASL - Is my Existing Express Consent Valid?

CASL, which started on July 1, 2014, requires that a request for express consent contain all the prescribed identification and contact information. Express consent cannot be obtained via a commercial electronic message after CASL comes into force unless you already have implied consent as defined in CASL.

Remember: Under CASL, senders must retain proof of express consent, even if consent was obtained prior to CASL coming into effect on July 1, 2014.

Express Consent Versus Implied Consent

CASL - Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation - Express Consent Versus Implied Consent

Express Consent Versus Implied Consent

Below we outline what you need to know before sending out your commercial electronic message.

Implied consent - Existing business relationship

The recipient has made or enquired about, a purchase or lease of goods, services, land or interest in land, a written contract or the acceptance of a business, investment or gaming opportunity from you.

Implied consent - Existing non-business relationship

You are a registered charity, a political party or a candidate, and the recipient has provided you a gift, a donation or volunteer work.

You are a club, association or voluntary organization and the recipient is one of your members.

Implied consent - Recipient’s e-mail address was conspicuously published or sent to you

The address was disclosed without any restrictions and your message relates to the recipient’s functions or activities in a business or official capacity.

Express consent - Valid consent given in writing or orally

The recipient gave you a positive or explicit indication of consent to receive commercial electronic messages. Your request for consent set out clearly and simply the prescribed information.

Keep records

Keep records of how you obtained implied or express consent since in both cases you as the sender have the onus to prove consent.

Time limit

Express consent is not time-limited unless the recipient withdraws his or her consent.

Implied consent is generally time-limited

It is typically a period of 2 years after the event that starts the relationship (e.g. purchase of a good). For subscriptions or memberships, the period starts on the day the relationship ends.

Know Your Responsibility When Managing Consent

Canada's anti spam legislation - CASL - Know your responsibility

How do I manage consent with CASL

How do I manage consent for companies I will work with in the future?

  • Company A can obtain valid express consent to send commercial electronic messages (CEMs) for their own use as for yet-to-be-determined third parties they will work with in the future.
  • Company A can share the recipient’s electronic address with Companies B and X.
  • Companies A, B, and X can all send CEMs to the recipient using the express consent obtained by Company A. Companies B and X must identify in their CEMs that they received the express consent to send the CEM from Company A.
  • The recipient must be able to withdraw their express consent from ANY of these companies by unsubscribing from receiving ANY or ALL CEMs. Company A needs to notify parties of an unsubscribe request that relates to them and Companies B and X have an obligation to notify Company A of any unsubscribe request they receive relating to the express consent acquired by Company A.

All companies are accountable for managing the recipient’s consent and unsubscribe requests and all companies must include their identification and unsubscribe mechanism in each CEM.

Information to be Included in a Commercial Electronic Message (CEM)

Understanding CASL - Infographic

Canada's anti spam legislation - CASL - Information on Commercial Electronic Message (CEM)

What information needs to be included in a CEM?

Identification - Identify your business name, if different from your name (if not, identify your name) and the name of anyone else on whose behalf or business you are sending the message.

Contact information - You must include your mailing address. You must also include one of the following:

  • a phone number to access an agent or a voice messaging system
  • an email address
  • or a web address for you or the person on whose behalf you are sending the message

Ensure these contact methods are accurate and valid for a minimum of 60 days after sending the message.

Be clear - If you are using a link to provide the required information, the link must be clearly and prominently displayed in the message.

Personal Relationship Exemption

Understanding CASL - Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation

Canada's anti spam legislation - CASL - Personal Relationship Exemption

Two-way communications where the sender is an individual and does not send commercial electronic messages (CEMs) on behalf of a company and the recipient is an individual.

The sender and recipient have had direct, voluntary, two-way communications in the past. These communications reveal a personal relationship.

What you need to consider before relying on the personal relationship exemption

In past communications, did you share the same:

  • Interests
  • Experiences
  • Opinions
  • Information

Were these communications frequent?

Has it been a long time since you last communicated?

Did you ever meet each other in person?

Proof - You should be able to prove this relationship with your past communications, if necessary.

Real Identity - You should know the real identity of each other (as opposed to only communicating by using an alias or a virtual identity).

Social Media - Using social media or sharing the same network does not necessarily reveal a personal relationship. The mere use of buttons available on social media websites (such as clicking on “like,” voting for or against a link or a post, accepting someone as a “friend,” or clicking to “follow” someone) will generally be insufficient to constitute a personal relationship.

You can find the original post on the CRTC website.

About Us
MasterSolve is a business and technology consultancy with offices in Toronto, Ontario and St. Louis, Missouri.  We are your trusted business partner with expertise in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Technology (Martech) solutions. We live and breath CRM and process improvement, we use a combination of best practices and common sense to help you find, implement and support, the software and technology you need to run your business and meet your goals.
If you are looking for technology and business processes improvement to help you propel your business toward success, give us a call today!

Sign-up for the Turn the Light on Newsletter

Get CRM and Marketing Automation articles right to your inbox!

Stephen Lavoie

Sign-up for the Turn the Light on Newsletter

Get CRM and Marketing Automation articles right to your inbox!

About MasterSolve

MasterSolve is a business and technology consultancy with offices in Toronto, Ontario, and St. Louis, Missouri.  We are your trusted business partner with expertise in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Marketing Technology (Martech) solutions. We live and breathe CRM we use a combination of best practices and common sense to help you implement and support, the software and technology you need to run your business and meet your goals.

If you are looking for technology and business processes improvement to help you propel your business toward success, give us a call today!