Canadian Anti Spam Law Overview

 The new Canadian anti-spam law went into effect on July 4th, 2014 and is considered one of the strictest and most comprehensive laws on the books.  If you have email subscribers from Canada or do business in Canada, this law will impact your marketing efforts and you will need to take action.  Violations of the law can may yield up to $10 million fines. The good news, is that there is a three-year transition period to make sure your solution is compliant.   The new Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL here on) covers more than just email.  In fact, it covers any electronic message defined as “a message sent by any means of telecommunication, including a text, sound, voice or image message.”  This means that emails, instant messages, phone messages or even some social marketing messages may be covered by this law.  Keep in mind that this law only applies to message sent from or to Canadian computers and devices in Canada. Messages routed through Canadian computer systems are not subject to this law.   

Critically, the law states that you may only communicate with individuals “Express” consent to do so.  This means that a subscriber needs to opt into your program using the following rules: 1) Purpose: You must specify purpose of consent – such as “We are going to send you marketing emails and promotions” 2) Contact Information:  You must give your contact information so the subscriber understands who they are communicating with. Finally, 3) You must tell them that they can opt out at a later date.  In lieu of “Express” consent, there are situations in which you may use “Implied” consent.  The definition of implied consent is a bit more complex but comes down to the following two ideas.   

  1. Someone who has an existing business relationship with you.  Generally, this means that they have bought or leased a product, good, or service from your company or organization in the past two years. A more detailed definition can be found here.   

  1. The second idea around implied consent is:  Someone who has an existing non-business relationships with your company or organization. This means that the individual may have made a donation or gift to a registered charity or political organization in the past two years or similar type of activity.   


Please note that the law is rather complex and detailed – the implied consent definition alone covers 3 typed pages.   This email is intended only as an overview and not as legal advice.  Please do speak with your legal counsel to get a more detailed analysis of your specific situation.  As an example, the law does make allowance for communicating with individuals who have contacted your organization (for a period of six months).    Anyone who has opted out or has expressly removed themselves from your communication can not be included in your calculation for what constitutes implied consent. 

If you are an Ascent360 customer, please reach out to your Account Manager to discuss changes to your program in order to remain compliant with this new law.  Remember, you have until July 4, 2017 to become compliant.