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Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation ("CASL")

Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation ("CASL") is a federal law that came into force on July 1, 2014.  CASL prohibits the sending of a commercial electronic message ("CEM") without the receiver’s consent, with the intention of reducing the amount of spam Canadians receive.  Electronic messages become CEMs when their primary purpose, or one of their purposes, is to encourage participation in a commercial activity.  The commercial character of the message typically arises from the message's contents, or as a hyperlink to a commercial website, or as a company logo (different from the sender's organization).  CASL requires that CEM recipients give express or implied consent to receiving a message before a message is sent to them (Note: even a request for consent is a CEM).  CEMs must identify the sender and the purpose of the message, and allow recipients to easily opt out of receiving future CEMs.  CASL has serious financial penalties for senders who do not comply with its requirements.  

The core activities of Toronto Metropolitan University(TMU) are educational and not commercial in nature, so CASL and its associated regulations may not apply.  

These core activities are defined in Section 3 "Objectives" in the  (PDF file) Toronto Metropolitan University Act:

  1. The advancement of learning, and the intellectual, social, moral, cultural, spiritual, and physical development of the University's students and employees, and the betterment of society.
  2. The advancement of applied knowledge and research in response to existing and emerging societal needs and in support of the cultural, economic, social, and technological development of Ontario.
  3. The provision of programs of study that provide a balance between theory and application and that prepare students for careers in professional and quasi-professional fields.

However, CASL may apply to electronic messages sent by the University, if the messages have a commercial character, even if the primary purpose of the message is covered by the Objectives.  For example, a message with a primary educational purpose can take on a commercial character and become a CEM if the message contains links to a company or if company logos are added to the message.  CASL contains special exemptions for fundraising messages if the primary purpose of the message is to raise funds for the university (TMU University is a registered charity) but other messages that alumni relations sends to alumni must identify the sender and include an easy unsubscribe mechanism.  

If you are unsure if CASL applies to an electronic message that you want to send, please consult with our office by sending your question to