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Anti-Spam Law Takes Effect in Canada July 1

Similar to the CAN-SPAM law in the United States, Canada's anti-spam law prohibits the sending of any electronic message that encourages participation in a commercial activity without prior consent, regardless of whether there is an expectation of profit. Commercial messages include marketing or promotional e-mails about new programs, events, or publications, for example.

Whereas the U.S. law adopts an "opt-out" standard, the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) requires "opt-in" consent to receive commercial electronic messages, unless there is an existing business or non-business relationship with the recipient. In cases where the recipient has purchased products or services from the business, made a donation, paid membership dues, or performed volunteer work for the organization within the previous two years, consent to receive electronic messages is implied.

As is the case in the United States, commercial electronic messages sent to Canadian recipients must clearly disclose the name and contact information of the sender, and a means for the recipient to unsubscribe from receiving commercial electronic messages from the sender.

Importantly, the Canadian anti-spam law applies only to commercial messages. E-mails or texts sent to Canadian recipients that are purely informational or transactional (including information sent in response to a request) would not fall under these same restrictions. The Canadian law also applies to instant messages and social media messages, as well as software downloads and updates to mobile applications.

To read the law in its entirety, go to


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