Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation
Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)
What is CASL?
The new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (commonly referred to as CASL) came into effect on July 1, 2014 and prohibits sending “commercial electronic messages” (CEMs) such as emails and texts without first obtaining a recipient’s consent. Even with consent, the sender must provide a way for recipients to unsubscribe to further messages. Those in violation of the legislation could face stiff penalties; up to $10 million for the College and up to $1 million for individuals.
Any messages that contain commercial content may constitute Commercial Electronic Messages under CASL. Please note, however, that the CASL does not apply to messages that are solely related to the core activities of the College because these activities are not “commercial” in nature. It also does not apply to messages sent by the College for the primary purpose of raising funds.
Since non-compliance with the CASL may lead to significant financial penalties, faculty and staff who are sending Commercial Electronic Messages must read the resources available on this website and on TheLoop to ensure that you understand and comply with the legislation.
What are CEMs?
“Commercial Electronic Messages” (CEMs), are any electronic message (such as a text, email or social media message) whose content - including the message, a hyperlink in the message, or the contact information in the message - encourages participation in a commercial activity, regardless of whether it is done so in the expectation of profit. Requests to subscribe to a mailing list and/or to obtain consent are themselves considered CEMs under CASL.
Any message that contains commercial content may constitute a CEM under this legislation. Messages sent by the College for the primary purpose of raising funds are exempted from CASL. More information about this can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions and Applying CASL to RDC Activities resources.
Please visit the RDC Services tab on TheLoop for further information on the College’s position on CASL, resources and documents for employees, (FAQs, Model Language (consent and unsubscribe), Applying CASL to RDC Activities, Quick Reference Guide) and updates as they become available.
IMPORTANT NOTE - Information on this webpage, and corresponding Red Deer College resources on TheLoop, is subject to updating from time to time. Please check back often for additional resources and further instructions.
Inquiries regarding the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation may be directed to Trent Rix, Director of Student Services at trent [dot] rix [at] rdc [dot] ab [dot] ca
Red Deer College’s Position on the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)
As many of you are aware, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) came into effect on July 1, 2014. RDC is making every effort to comply with CASL while also ensuring that the implementation of our solution is as non-disruptive as possible. CASL will have a fairly modest impact on RDC because most electronic messages sent by RDC are not subject to the legislation.
Red Deer College’s President’s Executive Committee (PEC) considered variations on the interpretation of the legislation and its relevance to the electronic communications sent by the College. The PEC has determined that RDC will adopt an interpretation that is consistent with that of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).
The interpretation can be summarized as follows:
• The requirements for consent, unsubscribe mechanisms, and identification in CASL apply to commercial electronic messages (CEMs).
• Messages regarding the core activities of the College are not commercial electronic messages (CEMs), hence CASL legislation does not apply. RDC, like other public educational institutions, is not a commercial entity; it provides a public service and is primarily dependent on taxpayer funding. Therefore, its core activities – those activities that are central to its mandate and responsibilities, are not of a “commercial character” and do not fall under CASL.
• The core activities of the College are broadly defined as those activities that are central to the mandate and responsibilities of RDC. The mandate and responsibilities of RDC are broadly defined to include educational activities (such as continuing education, recruitment, conservatory, applications admissions, administrative actions, etc.), but also student support services (library services, student funding and awards, academic and career advising, learning skills support, student life, cultural activities, recreational activities, residence services, counselling and wellness programs).
• Please note that messages with mixed purposes are still deemed to be commercial electronic messages. A mixed purpose message is a message about RDC's core activities that also has messaging about non-core activities, or that also mentions activities that are external to RDC. An example would be a message about convocation photos. While convocation is a core activity of Red Deer College, a message talking about how to purchase graduation photos from a third party would be a mixed purpose message and the legislation would still apply to this message.
• It is the College’s position that messages pertaining solely to core activities do not require the unsubscribe mechanism or consent from the recipient(s) of those messages.
CASL Resources - a list of other resources can be found on TheLoop