Industry Canada released draft regulations today for Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).  CASL places restrictions on organizations' ability to send commercial electronic messages.  

Industry Canada's draft regulations address one of the key exceptions to the requirement to obtain consent for the sending of commercial electronic messages under CASL.  Specifically, where there is a personal or family relationship, consent is not required to send a commercial electronic message. Until today, these two terms had not yet been defined.  

Under the regulations, a "family relationship" means a relationship between individuals who are connected by:  

  1. a blood relationship if one individual is the child or other descendant of the other individual, the parent or grandparent of the other individual, the brother or sister of the other individual or of collateral descent from the other individual's grandparent,
  2. marriage, 
  3. a common-law partnership, and 
  4. adoption.  

A "personal relationship" means the relationship, other than in relation to a commercial activity, between an individual who sends the message and the individual to whom the message is sent, if they have had an in-person meeting and, within the previous two years, a two-way communication.  

These new definitions of personal and family relationship are significant from a marketing perspective. As Industry Canada notes in the "Business marketing impacts" section of the analysis statement, these definitions may require Internet and email marketers to review and, as necessary, adjust "forward to a friend" campaigns to make certain that "they are not inciting" individuals to forward commercial electronic messages to individuals who fall outside the established definitions for friends and family.  

Industry Canada has indicated that interested persons may provide comments regarding the proposed regulations within 60 days after the date of their formal publication on Saturday, July 9, 2011.