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About Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

Canada's new anti-spam legislation takes effect July 1, 2014. Here is quick primer on what the law requires and how to stay compliant. We strongly recommend visiting the CRTC's official CASL website for detailed information. For specific questions regarding the law or your compliance, please consult an attorney familiar with CASL.

What Communication is Affected by CASL

CASL applies to Canadian residents or anyone sending to Canadian residents, including individuals and businesses, and covers all commercial electronic messages. This includes

  • Email
  • Text messaging
  • Instant messaging

"Commercial electronic messages" (CEM) are defined broadly and include any electronic message that encourages participation in a commercial activity (including linking to commercial websites).

What CASL Requires

In general, the law requires three things:

  • You must have express or implied consent from the recipient before sending the message. Tip: Use a subscribe form to obtain express consent.
  • You must clearly and simply identify yourselves and anyone else on whose behalf the message is sent. Tip: Include this information in the footer of your email.
  • In every message you send, you must provide a way for recipients to unsubscribe from receiving messages in the future. Tip: Use our built-in unsubscribe links to provide an opt-out mechanism.

Incidentally, these are the same requirements found in our Terms of Use.

What is Express Consent

You can obtain express consent before emailing by:

  • Making sure the recipient knows your purpose in obtaining their email address
  • Giving the recipient your name
  • Giving the recipient your physical mailing address and one of: telephone number, email address, or website.
  • Giving the recipient a statement that they can unsubscribe at any time

You must keep a record of how consent was obtained.

Tip: Use a subscribe form to obtain express consent and we'll keep a record for you.

What is Implied Consent

Consent is implied if the recipient:

  • Purchased a product or service from you, entered into a contract with you, or was a member of your organization within the past two years.
  • Has made a donation or gift, volunteered for, or attended a meeting organized by your registered charity or political organization.
  • Has directly given you their address or has conspicuously published it AND the message you are sending is directly related to the recipient's professional or official role.

When Consent is Not Required

There are some cases where consent is not required:

  • Sending a message that will be opened or accessed in a CASL-exempt country. Exempt countries include the United States, China, and much of Europe. See this website for a complete list of exempt countries.
  • Responding to correspondence you received from the recipient in the past six months.
  • Sending information about a purchase, membership, subscription, account, or other ongoing relationship.
  • Sending product updates.
  • Sending information about warranties, recalls, safety, or security of a product or service purchased or used by the recipient.
  • Sending to a family member or someone you have a personal relationship with.
  • Sending to an employee or a consultant employed by you
  • Sending one email to a recipient that you may not know, but were referred to. You must disclose the full name of the person who made the referral. Said person must have a personal or business relationship with the referral.

For more information, please visit the CRTC's official CASL website. For questions about setting up a subscribe form or using unsubscribe links, please contact our support team.

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