Canada's anti-spam law (CASL) is now in force, and may affect your ability to send commercial electronic messages without consent from the recipient.

BLG understands the nuances of Canada’s anti-spam legislation. Our team of CASL legal advisors has experience with anti-spam issues and how Canada’s legislation could have an impact on clients like you.

We can help you comply with CASL and provide critical advice and assistance on these important steps:

  • The development of an audit plan
  • An assessment of how CASL applies to your business
  • The development of policies and procedures
  • Creation and presentation of CASL training sessions
  • A review of contracts
  • The identification of other important legal issues to consider when preparing for CASL – e.g., French language laws

Overwhelmed by CASL?

If you are not familiar with CASL, here are the Who, What, Where, Why and How's:

WHO does CASL apply to?​

If your organization sends electronic communications, such as email or text messages, CASL will very likely affect you. It applies whether you are an individual or an organization, which includes businesses, not-for-profit organizations, charities, educational institutions and healthcare facilities. 

Among other things, CASL sets out rules respecting the sending of commercial electronic messages (“CEMs”). Subject to exceptions, the CEM rules apply to a CEM if a computer system in Canada is used to send or access the CEM, regardless of the location of the sender or recipient. For example, CASL also applies to foreign organizations who send CEMs to those in Canada. The CEM rules apply even if a CEM is sent to a single recipient.

WHAT do I need to know about CASL?

There are a number of prohibitions in CASL. For most organizations, the key parts of CASL are the rules for commercial electronic messages (“CEMs”).  Subject to limited exceptions, the general CEM rule is that one cannot send a CEM unless the recipient has given informed consent (express or implied in limited circumstances) to receive the CEM and the CEM complies with prescribed formalities (i.e. content requirements) and is not misleading.

Although CASL refers to “spam”, CASL is drafted so that it applies to a much broader range of messages than would normally be regarded as spam. CASL applies to “commercial electronic messages” (CEMs), meaning any message that is transmitted by means of telecommunication and that is intended to encourage participation in a commercial activity. “Commercial” is defined very broadly and includes any activity with a commercial character, whether or not there is an expectation of profit.

To find out more information on what you need to know about CASL, please see our bulletins under the “News & Publications” section.

WHERE can I access a copy of CASL?

You may access a copy of CASL as follows:

WHY do I need to comply with CASL?

Contravention of the rules pertaining to commercial electronic messages can result in severe administrative penalties (to date, the highest penalty has been CRTC's Issue of a $1.1 Million Penalty for a CASL Violation), civil liability through a private right of action (commencing July 1, 2017) and vicarious liability on employers, directors and officers.

WHO will enforce CASL?

The CRTC will be the primary enforcement agency. However, depending on the prohibition being violated, the Competition Bureau and/or the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada may also enforce CASL.

HOW do I begin to comply with CASL?

You may feel overwhelmed after reading CASL and materials on how to comply. If that is the case, we recommend you review our bulletin “Overwhelmed by Canada’s Anti-Spam Law? Start Here with the Basics”, which incorporates the key aspects of the commercial electronic message rules into a basic plan to get you started.


News & Publications

More →

Contact Us

To find out more about how BLG can help you make sense of CASL, please contact one of our CASL lawyers:


LuAnne Morrow


Éloïse Gratton and Alexandra Nicol


Roberto Ghignone


Bonnie Freedman, Eric Boehm and Victoria Prince


Bradley Freedman, Robert Deane and Sepideh Alavi


Don't Let CASL Cut Off your Audience