How does the new Canadian Anti Spam Law (CASL) effect LinkedIn messaging and InMail?

Posted by LinkedSelling in Uncategorized

For our clients in Canada, the new CASL (Canadian Anti Spam Law) has really gotten their attention.  And for good reason.

The new law is pretty strict in a lot of ways, especially when it comes to email.  And it not only impacts Canadian businesses, it also applies to businesses sending communications “into” Canada.

But the big question we've been getting is….

How does this law effect messaging on LinkedIn or using InMails? 


Further, how does it impact outreach to people that you are already not connected to, versus those who you are not yet connected?

Can people in Canada even use LinkedIn anymore?

Fortunately, the answer appears to be yes.   

The big “find” that leads us to this conclusion is this:

“New exemptions include commercial electronic messages sent from instant messaging platforms (e.g., BBM messenger, LinkedIn InMail) where the required identification and unsubscribe mechanisms are clearly published on the user interface.”

LinkedIn meets that requirement, and as such most of the communication tactics that LinkedIn affords seem to still be safe.

Here's some more research we found that while not directly applicable to LinkedIn, is still good stuff to know:

When the new law is in force, it will generally prohibit the sending of commercial electronic messages without the recipient's consent (permission), including messages to email addresses and social networking accounts, and text messages sent to a cell phone;

Under the CASL, as of July 1, any CEM must also contain an unsubscribe mechanism that allows the recipient to indicate, at no cost, their desire to no longer receive any CEMs through the same electronic means by which the message was sent, or, if that is not available, an electronic address or link to a webpage to which the indication can be sent. A person must honor an opt-out request within 10 business days.

Under section 66, consent to send commercial electronic messages (CEMs) is implied for a period of 36 months beginning July 1, 2014, where there is an existing business or non-business relationship that includes the communication of CEMs.

According to the new law, consent is NOT required if you are: Responding to a customer or correspondence from the recipient within the previous six (6) months.

CASL applies to a commercial electronic message (CEM) sent by any medium. “They don’t look at the sender, they look at the message, and it is technology neutral,” Ms. Babe of Miller Thomson says. “If you use social media to merely post an item, fine. If you use your LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter account to send an e-mail to another person, which is commercial in nature, then it is a CEM under CASL.”

If I’m on social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook: Is it considered express consent when people “like” or “follow” my page? Can I send messages to my fans (through the social platform or through email, or both)? CASL establishes some specific requirements when requesting express consent for the purposes of sending a commercial electronic message (CEM). Senders need to ask for consent, and when they do, they must explain the purposes for requesting consent. A sender must also provide the prescribed identification information, and explain that recipients can unsubscribe in the future, as required by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulations. It seems unlikely that a “like” or “follow” could be characterized as meeting these specific requirements.

At the end of the day, this is a legal issue and you should consult with an actual attorney.  Which we are not.  So don't take this as legal advice, because it's not.  🙂


  • Can someone at LinkedIn tell me how LinkedIn meets the requirements of Section 3(d) of the GIC exemption that refers to this requirement: “where the required identification and unsubscribe mechanisms are clearly published on the user interface”. I really would like to know.