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Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

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What is CASL?

CASL is Canada’s anti-spam legislation which came into effect on July 1, 2014. The purpose of this legislation is to minimize receipt of unsolicited electronic messages, whether in the form of email, text messages, social media or other means of telecommunication, that are sent for commercial reasons. It is also intended to reduce electronic threats to commerce, including phishing, pharming, malware and spyware.

CASL prohibits the sending of a commercial electronic message (CEM) that promotes or encourages participation in a commercial activity unless specific requirements are met. This means that anyone who sends a CEM must do the following:

    1. obtain consent from the recipient first;
    2. provide prescribed identification to the recipient: and
    3. provide an unsubscribe option on the outgoing message.

What is a CEM?

A CEM (commercial electronic message) is a message sent to an electronic address that encourages participation in a commercial activity. Examples of electronic messages include emails, text messages, instant messages, and direct messages on social media such as Facebook or Twitter. 

What is a commercial activity?

A commercial activity refers to a transaction that is of commercial nature, whether or not there is expectation of profit.  A commercial activity includes:

    1. an offer to purchase, sell or lease products, goods, services and land;
    2. an offer to provide a business or investment; and/or
    3. the advertisement or promotion of either of these activities, or a person carrying out or intending to carry out these activities.


Examples of school board CEMs include:

  • messages to parents, guardians and community members with promotions, advertising or offers of sale such as school pictures, yearbooks, team uniforms or equipment, prom tickets, food programs such as pizza days, field trips and fund raising activities;  
  • school newsletters that contain messaging about these types of activities;
  • promotion of community and local business events when they include promotions or offers for sale; 
  • emails that redirect the recipient to another website, and forwarded emails that contain commercial content;
  • messages, e-newsletters and advertisements for general interest courses, business partnerships and request for proposals;
  • emails regarding non-board business such as an invitation to sponsor a colleague or offer an item for sale.

Electronic messages that are not of a commercial nature, but are simply for informational purposes (e.g. student progress, notice of a community or school council meeting) do not fall under CASL. Hard copy communications such as newsletters, flyers and letters, faxes and voice messages, even if they contain commercial content, are exempt from the legislation.


What does this mean for HPEDSB?

Schools, school councils, student councils, trustees and employees must comply with CASL if they send CEMs that encourage participation in a commercial activity. Seeking consent is crucial. School board strategies and mechanisms to ensure compliance are being developed and implemented. Click here for more information and key messages for staff.


What does this mean for parents and guardians?

We want to keep parents and guardians informed about what’s happening at schools across the district.  Email and other electronic messages are often the best ways to stay in touch. These communications may include information about offers, advertisements or promotions related to school activities such as fundraisers, field trip opportunities, student photos, lunch programs or similar school related activities. If your child’s school has practices in place to communicate with you electronically, please ensure that you have signed and returned a CASL consent form to your child’s school in order to continue to receive these types of communications. You can withdraw your consent at any time by contacting the school principal. Contact your child’s school or click here to obtain a CASL consent form.

Why comply with CASL?

Individuals and organizations found to be in violation of CASL could face significant fines. Everyone must ensure they have done their due diligence to prevent a violation.

For more information

Visit fightspam.ca for more information about Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation. Questions around CASL and HPEDSB can be directed to:

Freedom of Information Officer

Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board

156 Ann Street, Belleville, Ontario K8N 3L3

613-966-1170 or 1-800-267-4350, extension 2354


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Address: 156 Ann Street, Belleville, Ontario, Canada K8N 3L3  Phone: +1 613 966-1170  Toll-free: +1 800 267-4350  
Fax: +1 613 961-2003  General Email: information@hpedsb.on.ca  Technical Email: webmaster@hpedsb.on.ca

© Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board, 2007. All rights reserved.
Last Modified: Wednesday, 15-Mar-2017 15:32:26 Eastern Daylight Time
This document was printed from www.hpedsb.on.ca

Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board
156 Ann Street, Belleville, Ontario Canada K8N 3L3
Toll-free: +1 800 267-4350
Phone: +1 613 966-1170
Fax: +1 613 961-2003

© Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board
2007 All rights reserved