By George Nassrallah
On July 1, 2014, Canada’s New Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”) comes into effect.
This new legislation affects every business which sends a commercial electronic message (“CEM”) for the purpose of commercial activity. This can include, but is not limited to, emails and text messages sent by businesses in an attempt to procure new clients, such as selling products or offering services. As a result, the new legislation can have a direct impact on countless businesses which market their products and services through electronic communication. Many people may not even be aware of the new legislation’s existence or its application to their business.
Starting July 1, 2014, CASL prohibits the sending of a CEM without obtaining the prior consent of the recipient. Consent can be express or implied, and businesses will have to keep accurate records of consent. The onus of proof rests on the sender of the message to ensure they had consent before sending the CEM.
In addition, even where consent is obtained beforehand, each CEM sent must meet a prescribed criteria. Namely, each CEM must identify the sender (your business), provide your business’ contact information, and provide an unsubscribe mechanism which allows for an easy method to opt out of your business’ CEM distribution list. This information must remain accurate and any links must remain functional for at least 60 days after the CEM was originally sent.
It is always preferable to obtain express consent in writing as the express consent is permanent, pending any future request for removal from your CEM distribution list by that customer. However, consent can also be implied. For example, if there was an existing business relationship with an individual, if a prospective customer contacts your business and is interested in your products or services, or if the individual’s email is published online (without a non-solicitation message present) and your CEM is relevant to their business, these situations may create a circumstance of implied consent which permits your business to send the recipient a CEM. However, caution is required as each case of implied consent has an expiry date that requires your full awareness and compliance.
Sending a CEM without the express or implied consent of the receiver can result in penalties for your business. Nassrallah Law Offices can help you understand your legal obligations under CASL and help guide your business to ensure it remains fully compliant with the new law.
For more information, please contact us to book a consultation. We would be pleased to meet with you.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of George Nassrallah alone and not necessarily those of DNG Law. The opinions do not constitute legal advice or imply that a lawyer-client relationship has been formed between the author and the reader. For more information, please contact us directly at 613-523-6277 or email@example.com to schedule a meeting with one of our lawyers, or consult another licensed lawyer in the Province of Ontario.