Oh, Canada!

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While much of the country has been stricken with FIFA fever, those of us not following the World Cup — or Luis Suarez’s eating habits — may be more interested in Lebron James’s decision to opt out of his contract with the Miami Heat in advance of the July 1 deadline. While that does not necessarily mean he will be leaving Miami, there is plenty of speculation and lobbying about where he might end up next season. Certainly, Don Draper makes a compelling pitch for King James to return to Cleveland.

Lawyers may want to turn their attention to another important deadline on July 1. Starting on that date, all commercial electronic messages (CEMs) sent from a computer in Canada or to an electronic address in Canada are regulated by legislation commonly known as Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). Unless an exception applies, the CASL provides that anyone — including a US-based lawyer — who sends a CEM to a recipient in Canada must have the recipient’s express, verifiable consent before sending the message and the message must comply with form and content requirements.

So what is a CEM? Any electronic communication that promotes, offers or advertises services; solicits business; refers business or investment opportunities; and any other similar message that encourages participation in commercial activity, is subject to the CASL. Wht is not a CEM? Emails sent to current clients about their business; a firm’s internal communications about it business; legally required notices; or responses to requests, inquiries or complaints.

Those doing business, or wanting to do business, with friends up north, would be well advised to comply with the CASL. But to be clear, unlike Lebron, the CASL requires an affirmative opt-in. So before you email anyone in Canada after July 1, make sure they have consented.

And for those of you who still prefer World Cup, I am told that the US lost … and advanced. I think I’ll stick with basketball.