Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

For Members and Firms:

The AIBC is reminding members and firms that federal anti-spam legislation comes into force on July 1, 2014, that may affect how you send electronic messages.

CASL is intended to protect Canadians from unsolicited “commercial electronic messages” or “CEMs”: messages whose purpose is to encourage participation in a commercial activity.  The definition of commercial activity is broad and includes advertising goods or services. The content of the message and any hyperlinks in the message to website content are included in the consideration of whether it has a commercial purpose.

For many firms, this may include marketing e-mails, invitations and more.  Firms are advised to assess how CASL may apply to their business operations, including advertising and marketing activities.  Firms will want to review their electronic contact lists, including those for former, current and prospective clients, suppliers, business partners and community relationships, to determine whether and to whom any CEMs are being sent.

In order to legally send a CEM, a business or organization must obtain prior consent, whether the consent is express or implied.  Implied consent may apply to a number of relationships, but firms should review the legislation and make their own assessments.  Whether consent is express or implied, all CEMs must include certain information, including the name and contact information of the sender and a mechanism by which the recipient can choose to unsubscribe.

There are significant penalties under CASL for non-compliance, including personal liability for officers and directors of corporations.  Firms may want to seek legal advice on the applicability of CASL to their operations. The AIBC cannot provide specific legal and communications advice with respect to this federal legislation.

For more information on CASL and its requirements, the Government of Canada’s web site provides an overview of the new law, FAQs and other important information: http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home.

For the AIBC:

The institute’s primary email communication exchange is with architects and other registrants and the subject matter is principally regulatory in nature.  Such communication does not require consent from the receiving party. There are specific provisions in CASL for organizations such as the AIBC, as a regulator, that establish implied consent for certain individuals, including architects and other registrants.

However, to the extent that the AIBC may be sending commercial messages, it will strive to comply with the legislation.

Comments are closed.