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In the first two installments of this series of blogs on Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (“CASL”), I provided an overview of the law and discussed the activities that will be prohibited. In this installment, I discuss the numerous exceptions from CASL.

Personal or family relationships

CASL does not apply to commercial electronic messages (“CEM”s) that are sent by a person to another individual with whom they have a personal or family relationship, as defined in the Regulations.

Person engaged in a commercial activity

CASL does not apply to CEMs that are sent by a person to an individual who is “engaged in a commercial activity” and consists solely of an inquiry or application related to that activity.

This exemption would seem to limit CASL’s application solely to individuals in their personal capacity. This exemption seems to indicate that business-to-business CEMs are permissible. However, this scope of this exemption has yet to be tested in court.

Other exemptions from CASL

The Regulations to CASL set out further types of CEMs that are exempted from CASL, including:

  • A CEM that is sent by an employee, representative, consultant or franchisee of an organization to another employee, representative, consultant or franchisee of the organization;
  • A CEM that is sent in response to a request, inquiry or complaint or is otherwise solicited by the recipient;
  • A CEM that is sent as a result of a referral from an individual who has an existing relationship with the person who sent or received the message;
  • A CEM that is sent to a person to provide notice of, satisfy, or enforce a right, legal or juridicial obligation, or court order.[1]

In the next installment, we will discuss CASL’s requirement for consent to send a CEM.

[1] See full list of exemptions at s 3 of Reg. 81000-2-175 (SOR/DORS) made under CASL.

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