Sending commercial electronic messages (CEMs) will be somewhat more difficult after July 1 as a result of changes in the consent requirements under Canada’s anti-spam law (CASL).

When CASL first came into force in 2014, senders of CEMs were given a three-year grace period in which to obtain express consent from the recipients of certain CEMs. During that period, senders could rely on implied consent if they had an existing relationship with the recipient, as defined by the act. In such cases, express consent was not required.

As of July 1, that relationship must have existed for at least two years prior to July 1; otherwise, the sender must obtain the recipient’s express consent. The prohibition also applies to situations in which there has been no contact for more than two years prior to July 1, even though the relationship may have begun more than two years ago.

As a result, businesses should be reviewing their records to ensure that they have obtained express consent from clients and others to whom they send CEMs and that such consent is clearly documented. If firms lack either contact within the last two years or express consent, they must stop sending CEMs to those recipients.

In the case of investment fund managers, a careful review of compliance procedures may be required to ensure that CEMs are not being sent to clients in violation of CASL.

Law firm McMillan LLP has prepared a 10-point list with tips and pointers for CASL compliance on this issue, especially for investment fund managers.

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