Big changes needed for businesses to comply with Canada's new anti-spam law

Dec 19 2017, 11:04 am

The deadline is fast approaching for Canadian businesses to get in line with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). The first of the three stages will take effect July 1.

The new legislation is being heralded as a consumer driven protection measure, and with one of the strictest anti-spam policies in the world, violators could face fines as high as $10-million.

The first stage will target commercial electronic messages (CEMs) such as emails, texts and certain social media posts—businesses must receive expressed consent, or implied consent, from consumers before these can be sent.

Even the form of CEMs is regulated. Businesses will have to clearly identify themselves with contact information included, along with a way for consumers to unsubscribe.

Race for businesses to confirm consent with consumers began to heat up after Industry Canada released final regulations on December 4, however, many are still in the dark and are unaware of the new legislation.

After July 1, there is a three-year grace period to verify consent to contact consumers through CEMs, but that consent can only be sought from consumers in which a previous relationship existed.

Stage two will be introduced on January 15, 2015 and will target “unsolicited installation of computer programs or software,” and starting July 1, 2017 stage three will “provide private right of action that will permit individuals and organizations to brings a lawsuit against someone who they allege has violated the law,” according to the Government of Canada’s CASL information page.

There are a few exemptions to the new legislation including business to business communications, legal and referral business practices, certain telecommunications services, personal relationships and messages from political parties and charities.

Three federal agencies will be responsible for enforcing the law: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC); The Competition Bureau, and Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.


Written By Josh Winquist, a guest contributor to Vancity Buzz. Follow Josh on Twitter @joshwinquist.

 Feature Image: Spam email via shutterstock