How new anti-spam legislation affects McMaster

On July 1, 2014, the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) became effective across Canada.  The purpose of the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is to more carefully control the use of spam (unwanted Commercial Electronic Messages or CEMs) in electronic messaging.

CASL applies to the majority of organizations in Canada, including McMaster University. All faculty and staff are expected to comply with CASL. The penalties for failing to comply with CASL are significant: up to $10 million for an organization and up to $1 million for an individual.

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 CASL because of their commercial character.  Electronic messages such as those promoting a clothing sale at the bookstore, or advertising a summer program offered by a private enterprise at a McMaster facility are subject to CASL and its procedures for compliance.  University staff should ensure that all CEMs comply with the legislation. Guidance in complying with CASL is provided in the McMaster CASL Tool-kit found on the University Secretariat’s webpage at

If you have any questions regarding the application of CASL to your activities at McMaster please get in touch with:  Helen Ayre, University Secretary, or Brent Davis, Corporate Counsel