CEMs, in the context of CASL, include any message sent by means of telecommunication, including text, sound, voice, and/or image message.

Furthermore, a CEM has, with regard to the content, hyperlinks or information contained within the message whose purpose, as determined by a reasonable individual, is to encourage participation in commercial activity.

This commercial activity can include:

  • An offer to purchase, sell, barter, or lease a product/service.
  • An offer to provide a service or opportunity.
  • Advertisements and/or promotions.
  • Promotions of individuals, if the promotion of that individual does anything referred to in (a) to (c) below.

A business operating a commercial activity of any kind, whether conducted for profit or not, will have to ensure compliance with CASL.

This means that newsletters sent by charities, non-profits, and political parties that ask for donations or that publicise a lottery could be caught under this legislation. Unlike CAN SPAM, which covers only email, CASL will cover all CEMs since the legislation’s main goal is to promote confidence in electronic commerce. The law applies broadly to any CEM that is sent from or accessed by a computer system located in Canada.


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