Canada's new Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will come into force on July 1, 2014. The legislation received Royal Assent in 2010 and was awaiting regulations to define key terms, outline exemptions and bring it into force. These regulations will formally be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II on December 18. Government has signalled it will also issue guidance materials at that time.

RCC worked closely with Government officials and was successful in securing a number of key exemptions and transitional measures, including:

• A 7 month delayed coming into force period,
• A 3 year delay for the private right of action provisions, and
• Exemptions for most business to business communications, communications sent within an organization, and for commercial electronic messages (CEMs) sent outside Canada where an anti-spam law is already in place.

There is also a 3 year grace period where consent is implied when there is an existing business relationship as defined in the Act.

As of July 1, organizations will be required to have express, opt-in and verifiable consent to send a CEM to a person’s email or other electronic address – acquiring email addresses through contests, promotions, purchasing lists from a 3rd party, etc. alone will not be considered to be express consent under CASL, neither will “pre-toggled” or “pre-checked” or boxes. CEMs themselves will also have to contain certain information including a clear indication on whose behalf the message was sent and a prominent unsubscribe mechanism. The CRTC, who will be enforcing the new requirements, has issued the following guidance documents: 

Guidelines on the interpretation of the Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC)

Guidelines on the use of toggling as a means of obtaining express consent under Canada’s anti-spam legislation

Next steps

RCC will advise members on the interpretive guidance expected on December 18. It is expected to provide greater clarity and concrete examples, and also indicate what forms of express consent obtained before July 1 will be considered acceptable under CASL. RCC will also be providing compliance checklists and hosting member webinars in both official languages in January.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact Jason McLinton, Senior Director, Federal Government Relations at: [email protected] or 613.656.7903