Understanding Canada’s anti-spam legislation

Read a quick overview of Canada's anti-spam legislation (CASL) and find links to the full text of the legislation.

On this page

Fast facts about CASL

In general, CASL prohibits companies from:

  • sending you commercial electronic messages without your consent, including email, social media and text messages
  • altering the transmission data in an electronic message so the message is sent to a different destination without your express consent
  • installing software on your electronic devices without your consent (including, in some cases, updates and upgrades, even if you were the one who installed the original software)
  • using false or misleading representations to promote products or services online
  • collecting personal information by accessing a computer system or electronic device illegally
  • harvesting addresses (collecting and/or using email or other electronic addresses without permission)

For detailed explanations, see Canada's anti-spam legislation on the CRTC website.

How CASL is enforced

Three government agencies share the responsibility for enforcing CASL:

You can read more about these partners' roles by visiting their websites. You can also view the undertakings and notices of violations issued by these enforcement agencies at Spam news.

Consequences of violating CASL

Enforcement agencies have a variety of options at their disposal to ensure compliance with CASL, including negotiated agreements and warning letters. Every person who contravenes any of sections 6 to 9 of CASL commits a violation for which they are liable to pay an administrative monetary penalty (AMP). A series of factors are considered when determining the amount of an AMP, including the nature of the violation, previous CASL violations, whether the company benefited financially from the violation, and the company's ability to pay a penalty. Penalties for the most serious violations of CASL can reach $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses.

How to find out more about CASL

To read about the legislation in more detail: