Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation and McMaster

On July 1, the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) became effective across Canada.  The purpose of CASL is to place firmer controls on unwanted spam, or Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs).

Although the CASL does apply to McMaster, the impact on University activities should be minimal.  Electronic messages relating to the University’s core academic and research activities are not subject to CASL.  For example, activities such as registration processes, exam scheduling, faculty and staff recruitment, promoting McMaster academic or research conferences and workshops, charitable fundraising with alumni and recruiting research subjects are not considered CEMs because they lack commercial character.

However, some messages sent by the University could be subject to the CASL because of their commercial character.  Electronic messages such as those promoting a clothing sale at the bookstore, offering a McMaster-branded credit card or advertising a summer program offered by a private enterprise at a McMaster facility are subject to CASL and its procedures for compliance.  In such cases, the sender of the CEM would need to rely on one of the exemptions provided by the CASL or on the recipient’s consent, either implied or express, for compliance.

The University’s CASL Compliance Team has already been in contact with departments whose activities are most impacted by CASL and they are being provided with appropriate wording to be included in their CEMs.   Further information and guidance will follow to assist the McMaster community in their efforts to manage the requirements of the CASL.

Any questions related to CASL should be forwarded to Helen Ayre at