The Canadian government has issued an effective date for its sweeping email, text message, and social media marketing privacy law, the Canada Anti-Spam Law (CASL). The law, formally known as bill C-28, will go into effect as of July 1, 2014.

CASL was enacted in late 2010 to regulate commercial email messages (CEM) and other wireless and Internet communications, including telephonic messaging (text/SMS/MMS) and instant messages (IM). The law adopts a consent-based “opt-in” approach to regulating CEM, not the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act’s “opt-out” framework.

Both Industry Canada and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission have issued final CASL regulations. CASL will be enforceable on July 1, 2014, and maximum penalties for noncompliance are $10,000,000 CAN. A private right of action for violations has been postponed until July 1, 2017.

The finalized Industry Canada regulations include:

  • Exemptions for certain business-to-business messages, one-time communications with referrals, and charities
  • Clarification on the use of consent, including whether consent obtained under Canada’s privacy law (PIPEDA) is permissible
  • Definitions for Personal & Family Relationship and Membership, Club, Association, and Voluntary Organization

An important provision included in the final regulations provides that while CASL will apply to CEM messages that are either sent from or accessed on a computer in Canada, a sender who “reasonably believes the message will be accessed in a foreign state” listed in a schedule to the regulations will not be subject to CASL penalties. The schedule of countries includes the U.S., European Union member states, Japan and China.

Click here for a copy of the Industry Canada regulations.

You can learn more about how to comply with CASL and the history of the law through our blog archives:

As always, Gryphon’s Privacy Consulting team is available to assist with your company’s efforts to meet the new CASL requirements and all of your marketing compliance and productivity needs. To learn more about our consulting offerings and webinars regarding CASL, you can contact our VP of Consulting, Melissa Bateman Fitzgerald, CIPP directly at

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