New anti-spam laws for Canada have been put in place.

The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) helped push a regulation which targets emails, texts, and other forms of social media interaction that would be considered “commercial” in nature [1].

The following is what they’re going after:

“The intent of the new law is to deter the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam from occurring in Canada.

Spam includes more than unsolicited commercial messages. It has become the vehicle for a wide range of threats to online commerce affecting individuals, businesses and network providers. It can lead to the theft of personal data to rob bank and credit card accounts (identity theft); online fraud luring individuals to counterfeit websites (phishing); the collection of personal information through illicit access to computer systems (spyware); and false or misleading representations in the online marketplace.

Businesses are victimized by the counterfeiting of business websites to defraud individuals and businesses (spoofing). Network providers—recognizing that spam represents 75 to 90 percent of all email traffic—are forced to invest ever-increasing resources to prevent spam from entering their networks. Once established, spam slows networks down, and spam-borne viruses and other malicious software (malware) are used to operate networks of “zombie” computers (botnets) without their owners’ knowledge. These network attacks threaten the stability of the Internet and online services.”

The information can be somewhat hard to interpret but we’re going ahead and giving it to you directly from the source.

Here is the explanation from

  • CASL applies to everyone—individuals, incorporated and unincorporated businesses, not-for-profit organizations, etc.—who sends electronic messages for commercial purposes.
  • Under CASL, electronic messages can include emails, SMS text messages, instant messages and messages sent through social networks.
  • CASL defines a CEM as a message that encourages participation in a commercial activity. This includes advertisements and information about promotions, offers, business opportunities, events, etc.
  • Under CASL, consent is required before sending a CEM. Yet, an electronic message that is sent to obtain consent to send a message for commercial purposes is also considered a CEM.

Consent can either be express or implied.

  • Express consent means someone actively gave you permission to send him/her a CEM.
  • Implied consent means it would be reasonable to conclude you have someone’s permission to send him/her a CEM based on prior relationships. Implied consent could also apply to someone who has conspicuously published his/her email address, say on a website.

To obtain express consent, you must:

Clearly describe the purposes for requesting consent; Provide the name of the person seeking consent and identify on whose behalf consent is sought, if different; Provide contact information (mailing address and either a phone number or an email address) of those parties seeking consent; and, Indicate the recipient can unsubscribe.

Under CASL, you must be able to prove you have consent.

You must include the following in every CEM:

The name of the person sending the message, and identify on whose behalf the message is sent, if different; Contact information (mailing addressing and either a phone number or an email address) of the senders; and, A mechanism that allows the recipient to easily unsubscribe at no cost.

Information You Need to Know

From other sources covering the topic:

It’s a whole lot of legal information but it’s information you need to know.

A lot of it really harkens back to what we should have been doing in the first place which is being front about what we’re sending and being consistent in our message.

Basically – don’t send faulty information and you’re good to go.