CASL Enforcement Delayed Until Q3/Q4 2014?

You might ask why you haven’t heard from us regarding Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) in a while. The reason is that, although the law was passed in December of 2010, the enforcement has been delayed. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared for when the law is enforced. In this blog, I’ll talk about why the enforcement is delayed, when you can expect enforcement to happen, and why you should prepare for compliance.

Why is the enforcement delayed?

The short answer is… it’s complicated.

We are waiting for the Industry Canada, the government organization that oversees the legislation, regulations to be finalized. In addition to getting through the public comments on the second draft of regulations that they published in January 2013, they are facing other challenges.  

There are expected mid-term cabinet changes that would result in a reshuffling between the ministries over the summer.  We already saw one reshuffle that resulted in a new Minister of Industry, Christian Paradis. With these shifts, priorities could change, and the finalization of the regulations would be pushed out. In addition, there is some disagreement between Industry Canada and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which is one of the agencies responsible for enforcing the law once it takes effect, about how the law should be regulated.

When can you expect the enforcement of CASL to happen?

The Industry Canada regulations are expected to be published in the fall of this year. After this, the government is expected to allow a one year grace period for the industry to prepare before enforcement will begin. So, it is speculated that the law will not be enforced until the fall of 2014.

Why is it important to prepare to be in compliance?

The CRTC is in the process of developing a proactive system for catching senders who are not in compliance with the law and their regulations. Their goal is to be ready to take action as soon as the enforcement date hits. The CRTC’s regulations, which were finalized in March 2013, are considered to be a more restrictive interpretation of the legislation when compared to the Industry Canada draft regulations.*

Also, remember that U.S. senders will be impacted by the enforcement of the law as well, since the law applies to any commercial electronic message sent from or accessed by a computer system in Canada.  As Tom Bartel mentioned in our last post about CASL, it’s difficult for senders to determine whether or not their mail is being accessed by someone in Canada (think Hotmail, Yahoo, and Gmail addresses).

Return Path will continue to closely monitor the status and specifics of CASL, and will update you as we are able to share additional details.


* Wondering why there are two sets of regulations for CASL? The Industry Canada regulations are meant to address any exclusions or exemptions from the law and to provide clarification of terms relating to the law, while the CRTC regulations address the requirements for the form and content for requests for consent and CASL-compliant CEMs (commercial electronic messages).

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