Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) came into effect on July 1, 2014.

There is no exception in CASL for market and survey research.  Rather, the Government has confirmed with MRIA that the law does not apply to legitimate marketing research where there is no attempt to solicit. 


Application: CASL will not apply to emails that contain online research question

  • CASL only applies to commercial electronic messages (email, text, social media) - that means that the law is only triggered if the communication contains a solicitation.
  • Electronic messages that DO NOT solicit (such as online research), are NOT captured under the Act.  Therefore NO consent is required when sending an email questionnaire to a potential respondent or panel member.

What does CASL require?

  • Should CASL apply, organizations can continue to communicate with the public as long as they follow 3 requirements when sending an electronic commercial message:
    • consent is required (more on consent below)
    • option to unsubscribe
    • clear identification (including on whose behalf a commercial electronic message is sent, which may be done by providing a hyperlink to a webpage containing this information is acceptable as long as the webpage is readily accessible).
  • CASL also includes provisions related to spoofing and phishing, ID theft, spyware, malware, botnets, etc.


  • Express consent: In most cases, express consent is required unless there is an existing business or non-business relationship.  Express consent is NOT time-limited, and will remain valid until the recipient withdraws consent.
  • Implied consent is permitted in cases of: 
    • An existing business relationship (includes purchases, leases, and enquiries about goods and services)
    • An existing non-business relationship (includes gifts, donations and volunteering for charities and political parties) (includes members in a club, association, and volunteer organization).
    • A recipient's contact information (i.e. email) is willfully provided (i.e. business card) or is conspicuous and published in plain sight, for example, on a website or in a trade magazine.  The communication must relate to the recipient’s functions or activities in a business or official capacity.
  • Implied consent is time-limited:
    • Implied consent will typically be time-limited for a period of 2 years (although in some cases, only 6 months) after the event that starts the relationship (e.g. purchase of a good). For subscriptions or memberships, the period starts on the day the relationship ends. 
  • Exemptions: No consent is required for:
    • B2B - No consent is required to send a commercial message within your own organization, where the message concerns the activities of the organization. No consent is required for B2B communications, as long as it concerns the activities of the recipient organization AND the organizations have a relationship. 
    • Personal or family relationships - A "personal relationship" is one that exists between individuals. Legal entities, such as corporations, cannot have a personal relationship. Someone who sends a CEM on behalf of a corporation may not claim to have a personal relationship with the recipient.
    • Registered charities and Political organizations or candidates where the primary purpose of the communications is to raise funds or seek donations.


For more information on CASL, please contact the MRIA or visit the following resources:

Pour tout complément d’information, prière de communiquer avec l’ARIM ou de consulter l’un des sites qui suivent.

NOTE: The information provided in this section is MRIA's interpretation of the Act, which is based on a number of informed sources, including our staff and government relations adviser; on-going communications with government officials; MRIA's own legal counsel; media reports; and other publically available information provided by the Government of Canada.  As business practices may vary, MRIA recommends that members obtain their own legal counsel related to the application of CASL to their internal affairs.

Advocacy Committee News

The MRIA Advocacy Committee is currently looking for volunteers.

The MRIA Advocacy Committee :

    • Promote effective damage prevention and safe working practices.
    • Develop stakeholder communication strategies to increase membership and generate interest in damage prevention.
    • Implement outreach programs to promote changes in legislation.
    • Participate in stakeholder events to promote ABCGA and damage prevention best practices.

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