Could your business handle a $10 million fine?

BBB explains why Canada's new Anti-Spam law matters to individuals and businesses
June 03, 2014

June 3, 2014 - CALGARY, ALBERTA - As of July 1, 2014, Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will come into effect. New rules about how individuals and businesses communicate and collect information from others will be enforced. BBB explains what exactly will be changed and how businesses will be affected.

What is changing?

  • The sending of commercial electronic messages (CEMs)
  • The installation of computer programs
  • The alteration of transmission data in an electronic message

All individuals and businesses that use email, social media or text messaging as 
marketing and communications tools are required to follow the CASL rules. The financial penalties for failing to meet the CASL requirements are up to$1 million for individuals and up to$10 million for businesses.

Sandra Crozier-McKee, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, says even though new legislation requires substantial preparation, the benefits will be worthwhile. "The CASL requirements will help promote an ethical and trustworthy marketplace," she says. "Obtaining proper consent and honestly representing products and services paves a smooth road to marketplace trust." 

So, what exactly does this mean?

This new law will prohibit:

  • Sending messages without permission. Sending of CEMs without the  recipient's permission, including emails and messages to social networking   accounts and text messages.
  • Delivering data to a different destination than the original, intended 
    Alteration of transmission data in an electronic message,which 
    results in the message being delivered to a different destination without 
    express consent.(A process common  in phishing scams)
  • Installing software without consent. Installation of computer programs  
    without the express consent of the owner of the computer system or its 
    agent, such as an authorized employee.
  • False advertising. Use of false or misleading representation in the online  
    promotion of products or services.
  • Illegal collection of data. Collection of personal information  through 
    accessing a computer system  in violation of federal law  (e.g. the 
    Criminal Code of Canada)
  • Address harvesting. Collection of electronic addresses by the use of 
    computer programs or the use of such addresses, without permission
BBB recommends the following tips when preparing yourself or your business 

for the implementation of CASL:

  • Review the legislation in detail. Visit for an in-depth look 
    at the CASL and its implementations.
  • Review your processes for sending out emails, text messages and social media posts. Who are you sending messages to? Do any of your messages
    encourage participation in ac commercial activity such as buying a product 
    or service, taking part in a work shop or class or becoming a paying member?
  • Get consent. Do you have proper consent for the people you are currently 
    sending information to? For the people you plan to send future messages to, do you have the proper systems in place to acquire consent? Anyone 
    you are  sending a CEM to must have agreed to receive such communications 
    from you.
  • Include an "unsubscribe" option. Make sure it is easy for people to 
    unsubscribe or opt-out of receiving CEMs from you or your business.
  • Carefully review your recent and future CEMs to make sure you are not 
    unintentionally being misleading in the 
    representation of your products or services. If you are a BBB Accredited
    Business, be sure to review our BBB Code of Advertising
  • Make sure everyone understands. Ensure all of your staff understand the requirements of the new legislation and are properly trained to follow new procedures.
  • Stay informed.You can sign up for updates related to CASL at 
- # # # -
Media contact:

Leah Brownridge
Marketing and Communication Coordinator, BBB


About BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at There are local,independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, which was founded in 1954 and garners more than one million instances of service annually. 

For more information, check out our About Us section.