Canada began enforcing CASL on July 1, 2014.

Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) establishes rules for sending commercial electronic messages (CEMs) and prohibits the unauthorized alteration of transmission data. Most importantly, the legislation requires that consent is obtained before sending a  commercial electronic message (CEM). CASL applies to every CEM sent from or accessed by a computer system located in Canada.

CASL provides the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) – the enforcement agency under the legislation – with new investigatory powers, as well as the ability to impose administrative monetary penalties of up to $10 million per violation. CASL also includes a private right of action that allows individuals and companies to sue and recover damages resulting from violations of the Act.


Does the legislation prohibit me from sending marketing messages?

No. Rather, it sets out some requirements for sending a certain type of message, called a commercial electronic message (CEM), to an electronic address.

If you are sending a CEM to an electronic address, then you need to comply with three requirements. You need to: (1) obtain consent, (2) provide identification information, and (3) provide an unsubscribe mechanism.

Section 6 of CASL applies to a CEM that is sent to an electronic address. If both of these elements exist, then section 6 applies.

Section 6 does not apply if the CEM is not sent to an electronic address, as defined in the legislation. Also, section 6 of CASL does not apply to interactive two-way voice communication between individuals, nor does it apply to faxes or voice recordings sent to a telephone account. However, other requirements outside of CASL may apply in situations like these, such as the Unsolicited Telecommunications Rules.

Also, a computer system located in Canada must be used to send or access the CEM for section 6 to apply. Simply routing a CEM through Canada is not enough to engage section 6.

A key question to ask yourself is the following: Is the message I am sending a CEM? Is one of the purposes to encourage the recipient to participate in commercial activity?

When determining whether a purpose is to encourage participation in commercial activity, some parts of the message to look at are:

  • the content of the message

  • any hyperlinks in the message to website content or a database

  • contact information in the message


NOTE: The information provided here is of a general nature and is based on Listrak's understanding of the issues presented. Listrak is not a law firm and does not have lawyers on staff. This information does not constitute, and should not be considered, legal advice. The accuracy of this information is not guaranteed. Users are advised to seek professional legal help if they are concerned about a specific legal issue.

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