Canada’s long awaited anti-spam law (CASL) comes into force as of July 1, 2014. CASL takes the approach of forbidding almost all unsolicited commercial electronic messages (CEMs) and generally speaking, requires intended recipients of CEMs to provide express consent to the receipt of those messages. A CEM is broadly defined to include any message that has as its purpose, or one of its purposes, to encourage commercial activity. It has been suggested that the mere presence of a link to a company website can make an email a commercial electronic message that is subject to CASL. If you send commercial messages electronically to Canadians, you need to comply.
Compliance may require updating your communication and marketing practices, as well as implementing potentially costly changes to your IT capabilities. CASL provides for a few narrow exceptions and details the hoops that the rest of the world will need to jump through to send a CEM. Once in force, CASL will regulate anyone sending CEMs to Canadian recipients. Entities outside of Canada, such as US businesses, could be susceptible to penalties under this legislation as there is nothing in the CASL which limits its effect to domestic senders of CEMs.
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