Canada’s anti-spam law and universities

Contrary to a popular misconception, Canada’s anti-spam law (CASL) will apply to Canadian universities. Unlike universities and charities in other countries like Australia that have specific exemptions,  CASL will impose significant burdens on these organizations even though they are the least likely offenders and have very constrained resources, making compliance even more difficult for them.

When CASL was introduced, the public was told that organizations that did not engage in commercial activities such as  charities did not need to worry about CASL because it only applied to the extent their communications involved selling or promoting a product. However, CASL’s scope is actually much broader than that catching many more communications. Moreover, CASL’s drafting actually makes it more onerous for universities and other not for profit organizations and charities than for businesses to comply. See, Evaluating the CASL regulations: the B2B exception (Part II-Non-business entities)Will CASL Hurt Charities? Let Us Count The Ways.

I recently gave a talk on the subject of CASL and its impact on universities. My slides below highlight the challenges the anti-spam provision of CASL will pose for the university sector.

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CASL: when is a computer program installed or caused to be installed according to the CRTCCASL: when is a computer program installed or caused to be installed according to the CRTC

The computer program provisions in Canada’s anti-spam law (CASL) are very hard to apply in practice. One of the most difficult interpretive challenges involves determining what the phrase “install or cause to be installed” means. ...

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