Canada’s anti-spam laws are changing

Canada has implemented anti-spam legislation that affects the sending of commercial electronic messages (CEMs) to and from Canadians. This legislation affects organizations both inside of Canada and out – if a foreign organization is sending commercial or promotional information to Canadian recipients electronically, such communication is covered by the legislation.

In order to comply with the legislation, a sender must have the recipient’s consent, clearly identify the sending organization and its address, offer an unsubscribe mechanism, and be truthful in its advertising. Until July 1, 2017, consent to send CEMs has been implied where there was an existing relationship that included the communication of CEMs – after this date, consent will need to be express and “opt-in” in nature (i.e. it cannot presume consent on the part of the end-user), or implied as a result of a recipient having made a purchase or inquiry in the preceding 24 months or 6 months,

respectively (i.e. a time-limited consent). Records must be kept of how consent was obtained, because the sender of the message has the onus to prove such consent.

Monetary penalties for violations of the legislation can be up to $10 million for businesses – and directors, officers and agents of a corporation can be personally liable if they authorized or participated in the commission of the violation.

We would be pleased to assist with implementing risk management strategies and corporate compliance programs to respond to the challenges presented by this legislation, including reviewing CEMs and requests for consent for compliance with the legislation, and tracking consent.

antispam legislation

For more information, contact Ashley Dumouchel.

Questions? If you have any questions please call 613-232-5300 to speak to a professional or email us at