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Managing the message: Canada’s new anti-spam law sets a high bar

New laws target electronic communications

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law  (CASL), expected to come into force in 2013, will be one of the toughest of its kind in the world. Texts, tweets, Facebook posts and emails will all fall under its purview. In fact, CASL and its regulations will apply to any electronic message sent in connection with a “commercial activity,” even if it is sent without the expectation of making a profit. Simply encouraging participation in a commercial activity is enough to get caught by this Act.

 Consent is a key feature of CASL

According to the new law, Canadian and global organizations that send commercial electronic messages (CEMs) within, from or to Canada need the permission of their recipients to send those messages, with very limited exceptions. This is in stark contrast to the US anti-spam law, which allows CEMs to be sent without permission until a recipient “opts-out”. The result? Organizations will need to amend their electronic marketing practices and update their customer relationship management databases to comply with CASL’s stricter consent model.

Are you prepared to comply before CASL comes into effect?

A focus on enforcement

The Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the Competition Bureau will all play a role in enforcing CASL. In addition to sharing information among themselves, these agencies can coordinate with foreign jurisdictions to pursue violators.

Organizations that don’t comply risk serious penalties:

• Up to $10 million per violation for corporations

• Criminal charges for organizations that make false or misleading representations regarding the sender or subject of a CEM

• Civil charges enabling businesses and consumers to seek damages of $200 per violation, to a maximum of $1 million per day

• Personal liability for company officers and directors who knowingly infringe the law

• Investigation of spam messages, which recipients can send to a Government of Canada reporting centre. Activities related to phishing, email harvesting and the use of spyware/malware will also be investigated

The key to compliance

Updating your electronic databases to manage consents and unsubscribe requests can be a complex task. But it also promises to yield rewards that extend far beyond compliance. As you update your digital marketing practices, you can establish more meaningful communications with your customers and prospects – ones that are solicited and anticipated in accordance with CASL.


To read more, please visit the Deloitte website on “Managing the Message”

 Discussions Questions:

1. Do you agree with the new ” Canada’s Anti-Spam Law ” (CASL).

2. Will this new law hinder new business from starting up?

3. Have you been affected by Spam and Malware violations?







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