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Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) Implementation July 1, 2014 – Penalties can reach $10 million

Fasken
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Canada's New Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is scheduled to come into effect on July 1, 2014. As a 2012 Fasken Martineau survey of US based marketing executives revealed, an overwhelming number of US based firms were both unaware and unprepared for the new law.

Toronto (Canada) – Canada's New Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is scheduled to come into effect on July 1, 2014. As a  2012 Fasken Martineau survey of US based  marketing executives revealed, an overwhelming number of US based firms were both unaware and unprepared for the new law.

Violations of CASL can result in a fine of $1,000,000 in the case of an individual, and $10,000,000 in the case of a corporation.

"When we conducted the survey, almost 60% of survey respondents were unaware of the new law. Even among respondents who did know about the new law, they were significantly unaware of the potential penalties, regardless of where a company is based," said Antoine Aylwin, partner and Fasken Martineau's Chief Privacy Officer.

"What differentiates the Canadian law from many other jurisdictions, including the United States, is that obligation is on the sender, or the company, to obtain consent from the receiver. This has huge implications for US companies that are unaware of the new Canadian rules," added Mr. Aylwin.

"In some circumstances CASL imposes personal liability on officers and directors and, as noted, these can reach $10 million, so they have a vested interest in ensuring that they understand and are fully compliant with the Canadian Anti-Spam Law," concluded Mr. Aylwin.

Key findings and themes from Fasken Martineau's 2012 Canadian Anti-Spam Act Survey included: 

  • Survey respondents were largely unaware of the Canadian Anti-Spam Act and its effects. 
  • Of the respondents who were aware of the new law, nearly 1 in 4 (23.6%) did not know about the potential penalties.
  • Respondents aware of the Canadian Anti-Spam Act indicated that it will have a definitive impact on business planning.

Download the full report (PDF). 

When enforced CASL will be one of the world's toughest and will require Canadian individuals and companies, as well as foreign individuals and companies sending commercial electronic messages (CEMs) to Canada to obtain prior consent from recipients before sending such messages. Even those who are outside of Canada will be susceptible to penalties stemming from this law. As of July 1, 2014, existing mass mailing lists will need to be purged of all contacts for which the company is unable to prove consent.

Fasken Martineau lawyers have published a variety of documents aiming to help companies ready themselves for the coming into effect of this new law. These topics include a summary of the final regulations, as well as the immediate actions companies need to take for compliance and the top 5 reasons why organizations need a CASL policy.

About Fasken Martineau

Fasken Martineau is a leading international business law and litigation firm. With more than 770 lawyers, the firm has offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal, Québec City, London, Paris and Johannesburg. For additional information, please visit the firm's website at www.fasken.com.

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