As of July 1, 2014, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) took effect. Virtual Causeway can help you understand how this affects your business, and help you become CASL compliant.

Are you Affected?

CASL applies to you if:

  • Your organization is in Canada
  • Your organization sends Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM) to recipients located in Canada
    • A commercial electronic message (CEM) includes messages sent to email accounts, a telephone account, an instant messaging account or any “similar account” with the purpose of encouraging participation in a commercial activity
  • Your Email Service Provider (ESP) is located in Canada

NOTE: Sending a message asking for consent to send further messages is considered a CEM

CASL Exemptions

There are some exemptions to this.  Your message is exempt from CASL if:

  • You have an ongoing, current business relationship with the recipient and the message relates directly to the existing relationship
  • It is a non-commercial message.  Purely transactional messages (order confirmations, shipping notices, etc) are not captured under this legislation. Also, wholly informational messages that in no way advertise or promote a product, service or organization would be exempt
  • It is a quote or an estimate for a product or service or in response to a request by the recipient
  • If you can be reasonably sure the message will be accessed in a foreign state that is listed in the schedule and the message conforms to the law of that foreign state.  For example you can send to a person who resides in the US as long as the message is CAN-SPAM compliant. For a full list of the excluded countries, visit

Key Timelines

July 1, 2014 CASL Comes into Force

Consent is now required to send commercial electronic messages.

Note: Express consent obtained prior to CASL, which was compliant with PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) is considered compliant under CASL. However, CASL requires that you be able to provide proof this consent if required.


The CRTC has the ability to impose penalties for CASL violation of up to $10 million per violation.

July 1, 2017 CASL Transitional Period Ends

During the Transitional Period, you can continue to send messages to:

  • Contacts with whom you had an existing business or non-business relationship prior to July 1, 2014
  • Contacts you have previously sent commercial electronic messages to prior to July 1, 2014

You can use this transition period as a chance to obtain express consent from these contacts.

Private Right of Action

CASL includes a private right of action, which comes into force on July 1, 2017.  This allows any person affected by a CASL violation to sue for damages.

24 Months The length of time an existing business relationship formed after July 1, 2014 is considered valid implied consent.
6 Months The length of time an inquiry provided after July 1, 2014 is considered valid implied consent.
10 Days The required timeframe to process any opt-out requests from contacts.

Contact us today to see how we can help you ensure that your organization is CASL compliant!

Contact Us