Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL): Imagine Canada seeks clarification from CRTC about anti-spam and charities

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
UPDATE: We have been in contact with the CRTC and Industry Canada since we released the below information. The CRTC has indicated their intent to work with Imagine Canada on guidance material that will be released in early July. We will let you know as soon as this is made public. We would also encourage you to read our other recent communications on this issue.

The CRTC, which is responsible for enforcing CASL, yesterday contacted Imagine Canada to let us know that there are inconsistencies between their interpretation of the exemption for commercial electronic messages sent by registered charities, the primary purpose of which is raising funds, and that of Industry Canada, which we shared in our Issue Alert of June 5.

The CRTC has yet to issue official guidance on the exemption as it applies to charities and has indicated that an FAQ document pertaining to registered charities will be issued in the coming weeks. As such, the full extent of the discrepancies between the interpretation provided by Industry Canada, the authors of the legislation and regulations, and the CRTC, may only become clear after the legislation takes effect.

We have written to the CRTC asking to meet with them immediately to obtain clarification and guidance to assist charities.

We understand that it is very challenging for charities to ensure their compliance with the legislation and regulations in the absence of clear, consistent and comprehensive CRTC guidance, particularly about the scope of the exemption. We have conveyed this concern to the CRTC and we are endeavouring to obtain clarification from government as soon as possible. We will share updates as soon as they become available and will continue to advocate, as needed, on behalf of the charitable sector on this issue.

Charities with urgent inquiries can contact the CRTC directly.