That’s right, folks. Nearly three years after receiving Royal Assent and going through a seemingly endless set of delays, comment periods, and guidance changes it appears that Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation (CASL) is finally coming into force. Canada’s Minister of Industry James Moore announced today that CASL will come into force on July 1 2014. Eloqua’s Dennis Dayman posted about the announcement here.


We wrote about CASL at length here but as a quick reference, these are a few of the main points of the law:


  • CASL requires express consent. This means NO pre-checked boxes.


  • CASL is not just an email law.
    • It covers installation of computer programs without the end user’s consent
    • It covers any Commercial Electronic Message (CEM). A CEM is defined as any electronic message that encourages participation in a commercial activity. A CEM could for example be:
      • Email
      • SMS
      • Instant message
      • Some social media messages


  • It covers any CEM sent TO or FROM Canada. The CRTC will work with international regulatory bodies such as the FTC to ensure compliance by parties based outside of Canada’s borders.


  • Prescribed information is to be included in every CEM as well as any request for consent. Requests for consent are also covered by the law, which means that they cannot be sent without first obtaining express consent.


  • Existing contacts cannot be ‘grandfathered’ in most cases and will therefore require marketers to gain affirmative consent from their Canadian contacts before the law comes into force. Addresses who have already opted in under PIPEDA may however be permitted.


  • Fines are steep, up to 10 million dollars per violation and private rights of action are permitted.


What’s next?


Businesses will need to scrub their lists and remove any covered address for which there is no affirmative opt-in to receive email and other CEM. It is expected that many email lists will be significantly reduced in size as a result. Privacy Policies and form collection on websites should be updated to ensure proper consent. In the case of forms, this includes moving from an opt-out (pre-checked) to an opt-in (not pre-checked) methodology.


Eloqua recommends that businesses meet with their legal, compliance, and marketing teams to determine the full scope of changes to their business practices in order to comply with the new law as there are a number of key considerations and requirements not provided in this article which may apply. We also encourage affected parties to read the full text of the law, which can be found at