Less than one month until Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation takes effect – are you ready?

July 1, 2014 everything changes for business in Canada when it comes to Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs) thanks to Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).

There are a lot of businesses in Canada who do not understand the law will apply to them: “we don’t spam” is the answer a lot of people give when I ask if they are CASL compliant. I then explain that, despite the name, the legislation is not about the traditional definition of spam, it is about every CEM that is sent, be it by email, direct Facebook message, direct Tweet or direct LinkedIn.

Every business email (as a starting point) must have an “unsubscribe” option and you must track the consent or lack of consent to email. Consent can be express or implied. The timelines for implied consent differ depending on how the implied consent is obtained.

Sure, you can ignore CASL. In fact, there are many individuals who are hoping you do and then in July 2017 they will sue you for $ 200/CEM violation to a maximum of Ten Million dollars per corporation. Oh, and Officers and Directors, you are personally liable for any judgment obtained by CASL.

The limitation period (time to sue after a violation) for CASL is three years, so the clock starts ticking July 1, 2014 as people can go back to that date to issue a claim in July 2017.

Thankfully, due diligence (tracking consent, having an unsubscribe mechanism) is a defence.

So, let’s get compliant people – nobody needs to deal with a CASL lawsuit in July 2017!

Inga B. Andriessen JD