Thursday, 31 January 2013

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law: What Theatre Practitioners Need To Know

By Sarah Farrell, J.D.

Theatres use email and social networking every day to sell tickets to shows, promote events, solicit for donations and volunteers, and engage with audiences between productions.  Canada’s new anti-spam law (commonly known as “CASL”), currently under review and expected to come into force in late 2013 or early 2014, will place considerable restrictions on the sending of commercial electronic messages (which include emails, messages to social networking accounts and text messages.)  Failure to comply with CASL requirements may result in penalties of up to $1 million for individuals and up to $10 million for corporations.

Once CASL is in force, following a mandated transition period and subject to some exceptions, senders will be prohibited from sending (or allowing to be sent on their behalf) any commercial electronic messages without first obtaining express or implied consent from each intended recipient of those commercial electronic messages.  The rules and restrictions surrounding express and implied consent are outlined in CASL. 

Regardless of whether a sender is able to rely on express or implied consent under the law, all commercial electronic messages will have to include specific information with respect to the sender, and a CASL-compliant unsubscribe mechanism.  Recipients will be permitted to withdraw express or implied consent at any time, and senders will be required to comply with unsubscribe requests within a specific period of time--without recipients having to take any further actions.  Senders will want to keep clear records of all express and implied consents, and should keep track of the expiry or withdrawal of any such consents so that commercial electronic messages are not sent to any recipients whose consents have expired or been withdrawn.

With some forward planning and thoughtful administration, you may be able to avoid incurring costly unwanted penalties.  Join us on March 26 at 2pm for Theatre Ontario’s workshop “Canada’s Anti-Spam Law: What Theatre Practitioners Need To Know” to learn more about the restrictions and compliance requirements set out under this law.

Sarah Farrell ( is a Toronto-based entertainment lawyer who focuses on the law affecting theatre practitioners in Ontario.  The contents of this article do not constitute legal advice nor do they create a solicitor/client relationship between Sarah Farrell and the reader.  Each individual and organization will have its own specific concerns and circumstances that it will need to address when dealing with the issues set out in this article.  It is strongly recommended that the reader seek independent legal advice prior to following any course of action related to this article.  This article is not an exhaustive review of the topic set out herein and only provides a snapshot overview of some of the issues surrounding that topic.  Source:


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I wonder if it qualifies as irony that this post would attract a spam comment.