Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

The primary purpose of CASL is to control spam (unwanted Commercial Electronic Messages, or CEMs). CASL also prohibits the installation of computer programs without consent (eg. viruses, spyware); the unauthorized altering of transmission data; and the provision of false or misleading information in a message.  CASL is one of the world’s most stringent anti-spam laws.

CASL applies to most organizations in Canada, including UVic.  However, CASL will have a relatively modest impact on UVic because most electronic messages sent by UVic are not subject to CASL.

CASL applies to Commercial Electronic Messages, which are messages that encourage participation in a commercial activity.  A “commercial activity” is defined as “any particular transaction, act or conduct or any regular course of conduct that is of a commercial character, whether or not the person who carries it out does so in the expectation of profit”. Examples of commercial activities include purchasing, selling, bartering or leasing products, goods or services, or land; providing a business, investment or gaming opportunity; or advertising or promoting any of these activities.

CASL does not apply to messages related to the core activities of UVic. UVic, like other public educational institutions, is not a commercial entity; it provides a public service and is primarily dependent on taxpayer funding. Its core activities -- those activities that are central to its mandate and responsibilities as a university -- are not of a “commercial character” and do not fall under CASL.

In addition, certain types of messages are specifically exempted from the scope of CASL. For example, CASL does not apply to messages sent by registered charities (such as UVic) for the primary purpose of raising funds.

As a result very few of UVic’s electronic messages are subject to CASL.

A few examples of messages sent by UVic that do fall under the scope of CASL are:

  • A message about a sale of sweatshirts at the UVic Bookstore
  • A message promoting a UVic-branded credit card
  • A message promoting a summer language program offered by a private school in a UVic facility

Detailed commentary on CASL and its effect on UVic will be posted on this page in the next few weeks.