What does CASL mean for Canadian businesses?

June 30th, 2014

Over the last few weeks you’ve likely been inundated with emails from companies and individuals asking you to consent to receiving further email communication from them. If you weren’t already aware, it’s because of CASL: the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation coming into effect July 1, 2014.

Referred to as one of the strictest anti-spam legislations worldwide, CASL prevents individuals and companies from sending commercial electronic messages without implied or express consent.

Essentially, CASL targets commercial activity by commercial electronic message (CEM). A CEM is a message sent by any means of telecommunication, including text, sound, voice or image message. It refers to any transaction, act or conduct that’s of commercial character, whether or not the person who carries it out expects the result to be profit.

Businesses are taking CASL seriously because of the financial implications it will have as penalties begin rolling out (July 1, 2014: Administrative Penalties take effect; July 1, 2017: Civil Penalties take effect.)

For example: every person who violates CASL is liable for an administrative monetary penalty. The maximum penalty for an individual is $1,000,000, whereas the maximum penalty for a corporate entity is $10,000,000. Also of note, the directors and officers of corporations that commit violations of CASL will also be held liable if they directed, authorized, consented to or participated in violating CASL.

Here are steps on what you can do to prepare:

Obtain express consent from each contact you wish to communicate with via CEM. You can do that by clearly identifying the following:

(1) The purpose for which the consent is being sought.
(2) Clearly identifying the person or person/company on whose behalf consent is being sought.
(3) Include the address and contact information in the message.
(4) Add an unsubscribe mechanism to your email.
(5) Maintain an updated database.
(6) If you operate a business, make sure your commercial insurance includes cyber liability.

To learn more: Frequently Asked Questions about Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

For ready-to-use resources, please click here.

Contact Rogers Insurance Ltd., to learn more about CASL compliance and how to properly insure your company against potential litigation and penalties.

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