Canada Anti-Spam Law (CASL)

The Canada Anti-Spam Law (CASL) may effect you and it’s your duty to understand and comply with the law, if you use electronic channels to promote or market your organizations, services, or products.

What is the new Canada Anti-Spam law? It’s a new act that is in effect as of July 1, 2014. It will help protect Canadians avoid spam and other electronics threats, while ensuring businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace. This new law will effect any individual, business and organization that make use of commercial electronic messages, is involved with the alteration of transmission data, produces or installs computer programs.

It generally prohibits the sending of commercial electronic messages without the recipients’ consent (permission), including messages to email addresses, instant messages, text messages sent to a cell phone, social networking accounts and any other electronic correspondence. It does not apply to faxes or fax machines.

It also prohibits the:

Alteration of transmission data in an electronic message which results in the message being delivered to a different destination without express consent; Installation of computer programs without the express consent of the owner of the computer system or its agent, such as an authorized employee; Use of false or misleading representations online in the promotion of products or services; Collection of personal information through accessing a computer system in violation of federal law (e.g. the Criminal Code of Canada); and Collection of electronic addresses by the use of computer programs or the use of such addresses, without permission (address harvesting).

For Businesses:

To send a commercial electronic message to an electronic address you need the have the recipient’s consent, you need to clearly identify yourself and your organization, you must provide an an unsubscribe mechanism that is functional for 60 days. Your messages must not be false or misleading. They must not have false or misleading sender information, subject matter, URLs and/or metadata. To install a program on someone else’s computer or mobile device, you must have his/her express consent. Learn more how to obtain consent in this case.

Get the Facts:

Fact: You can continue to use email if you have express or implied consent from recipients. During the 36-month transition period, you can continue to use your current email list if you have previously provided your products or services to them and they haven’t told you to stop.


It is not illegal to send commercial electronic messages, but you need consent.CASL applies to emails, text and instant messages, and any similar messages sent to electronic addresses.CASL does not apply to promotional information you post online in places like blogs or social media.


Express consent received before July 1, 2014, remains valid and does not expire until the recipient withdraws it.


No law will eliminate all spam, including that from overseas. CASL allows Canadian enforcement against spammers operating in Canada.


Businesses that already comply with privacy laws and use common best practices for email marketing will require little effort to comply with CASL. The 36-month transitional provision provides time to adjust and seek express consent from per-existing clients.


There are no automatic penalties. The CRTC has a range of enforcement tools available, from warnings to penalties (up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses).

You can’t send a commercial electronic message if you don’t have at least implied consent.

You have 36 months* to obtain express consent from your past clients or customers.

For Individuals:

Sending of unsolicited commercial electronic messages, unauthorized alteration of transmission data, installation of computer programs without consent, false or misleading electronic representations (including websites), unauthorized collection of electronic addresses and the collection of personal information by accessing a computer system. It’s just not email, but it can be It can be malware, spyware, address harvesting, and false or misleading representations involving the use of any means of telecommunications, short message services (SMS), social networking, websites, URLs and other locators, applications, blogs, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), and any other current or future Internet and wireless telecommunication threats prohibited by Canada’s anti-spam legislation.

Do you think you’re getting spammed? Here are some options to fight it.

Report it. If you have received an email for which you did not give consent or that you believe is misleading or fraudulent, forward it to the Spam Reporting Center. This new center, created under CASL, will be used by the CRTC, the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to investigate serious cases and take necessary action against this activity.

If you suspect that you may be the target of fraud or if you have already sent funds or money; you’re not alone. Contact the Canadian anti fraud center.

Ignore it

Not all spammers are grammatically challenged. Some can be quite sophisticated. There are certain clues that you should look for. Be aware of emails that impersonate companies or people you know, ask for money up front or for your personal or financial information, try to scare you into action, or just seem too good to be true. If you suspect an email is spam, ignore it and delete it. Most importantly, do not click on any links or open any attachments.

Flag it

Most email inbox’s today are equipped with sophisticated software that identifies and weeds out spam before it gets to you. If you do get an email that you think is suspicious, mark it as spam. This will move it from your inbox to a special spam folder that is deleted regularly. This will also help your spam filter learn and adjust to your preferences, ensuring that important emails get through while malicious ones do not.

Take legal action.

Starting July 1, 2017: Following a three-year transitional period, you will have an option to take civil action against a company or individual that you believe has violated the law.

5 Things to look for:

Asks For Sensitive Information

(Personal or Financial) Even banks don’t ask for this stuff! Legitimate banks and companies will never ask for personal or financial information in an electronic message.

Impersonation of Companies or People You Know

Many criminals try to fake the appearance of well-known companies or people that you deal with frequently. Look for the warning signs on this list, even from senders you think you recognize.

Uses Scare Tactics

(For example: Will delete your account if you do not respond)

Asks For Money in Advance

Seems too Good to Be True

You have won a trip!

Beware of unexpected prizes or offer or money – never send money or give personal information to claim a prize.

For more information about the new law visit the new Canada’s anti-spam law (CASL) website.