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What You Need to Know about Canada’s New Anti-Spamming Legislation

In an effort to beef-up the Canadian online marketplace, Canada recently passed new anti-spam legislation (CASL). Changes in Canadian e-communication laws were unfurled July 1, 2014, and whether you’re based in Canada, the United States or Dubai, if you haven’t noticed the change just yet, you may soon feel the ripples in the way you receive and share email communication with recipients up north.

In short, the CASL runs counter to the traditional opt-out or unsubscribe models to stop receiving unwanted email, and instead includes a strict opt-in model for B2B email messaging whereby recipients must proactively agree to receive email from businesses.

Per the legislation, if you are sending a commercial electronic message (CEM) to a Canadian recipient, you need to comply with three requirements: obtain oral or written consent; provide identification information; and provide an unsubscribe mechanism.

CEMs are emails inclusive of the promotion of a product or service that encourages the recipient to purchase the item or services. This includes the promotion of people, public image, goods, land or even a business, investment or gaming opportunity. There is an exemption for persons sending CEMs to other persons within their organization, as well as for communication between two organizations that have a business relationship.

Think twice before you consider toeing the line with CASL. Committing a violation under CASL can carry a hefty fine – up to $1 million for an individual and up to $10 million for a business.

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