This month marks a significant milestone for Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (“CASL”), which was passed into law in 2010 and became effective in 2014. CASL, which is widely regarded as the strictest anti-spam legislation in the world, prohibits all commercial electronic messages (“CEMs”) that are sent to or from Canada without proper consumer consent, including e-mail, text, social media, voice and image messages.
How can businesses protect themselves from CASL?
Suspension of CASL Private Right of Action
As we recently noted, a CASL private right of action slated to take effect this month would have allowed individuals to file private and class action lawsuits to collect statutory damages. However, in the eleventh hour, Canadian regulators temporarily suspended CASL’s private right of action provision and asked a parliamentary committee to review the legislation.
In the meantime, the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (“CRTC”) will continue to enforce CASL regulations.
New CASL Provisions Take Effect
Despite the Canadian government’s delay of CASL’s private right of action, two other key CASL provisions became effective on July 1, 2017:
New Limits to Implied Consent: With this month’s change, businesses relying on customers’ implied consent may only deliver CEMs if the customer:
- Accepted a business opportunity or purchased goods or services within two years of the CEM’s delivery date; or
- Inquired about any of the foregoing within six months of the CEM’s delivery date.
A consumer may revoke implied consent at any time. After the applicable implied consent time period has run, businesses need express consent to deliver CEMs.
New Limits to Updating Computer Programs: As of July 1, 2017, software providers must first obtain each consumer’s prior express consent before updating or upgrading any computer program installed on the consumer’s device. Certain exemptions exist for certain types of programs (e.g., operating systems) and updates (e.g., bug fixes).
Protect Yourself and Stay Tuned
The CRTC has started cracking down on the sending of CEMs, and the flood of CASL private and class action lawsuits, while temporarily suspended, is inevitable.
This blog will explore the CASL private right of action’s rollout in greater detail as more information becomes available. In the interim, multinational companies, many of which have faced an unprecedented number of class action lawsuits in the United States for alleged violations of the TCPA should take their CASL compliance seriously.