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Key Changes to Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) Coming July 1, 2017


When CASL went into effect in 2014, it contained a three-year transition period that permitted organizations to rely on implied consent for sending commercial email if a business relationship already existed between the sender and the recipient. This was meant to give organizations time to review their email practices and to transition from implied to express consent. This transition period will come to an end on July 1, 2017, after which express consent will be required.

CASL applies not only to Canadian organizations and companies but to anyone sending commercial email to Canadian subscribers, so understanding and complying with the law is important to all organizations, regardless of where in the world they are located.

Complying with CASL

Here are three simple tips to help you comply with CASL and other similar anti-spam laws:

  • Obtain Permission: Always ask for express consent before sending commercial email messages to your contacts. The method of acquiring permission should be explicit and require a positive action like checking a box, typing into a field or clicking a button. Pre-checked boxes should not be used because they assume consent and don't involve a positive action.

  • Provide Identification: Always clearly identify yourself in the "From" field and use a subject line that accurately describes the content of your message. In every commercial email message that you send, include a valid physical postal address or a prominent link to a web page containing this information.

  • Include an Unsubscribe Mechanism: Make sure that every email that you send contains a prominent and functional mechanism for subscribers to easily opt out from receiving further messages from you. The mechanism can be a link to a web page or an automatically generated URL that allows subscribers to opt out simply by clicking it. Honor all opt-out requests without delay.

Private Right of Action Suspended

As the legislation was originally written, it also included a provision that would have permitted private right of action after the end of the transition period, which would have allowed individuals to sue organizations for alleged CASL violations.

However, the Canadian government announced last week that the implementation of private right of action would be suspended and will not take effect on July 1, 2017, as originally scheduled pending a review of the legislation.


For more information and to keep up-to-date with CASL and other opt-in laws, see the following links.

Frequently Asked Questions about CASL: »

Full Text of CASL: »

Announcement Suspending Implementation of Private Right of Action: »

Opt-In Laws in North America and Europe:

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