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Commercial Electronic Messages - Definition

A commercial electronic message (CEM) is any message that is sent electronically and that encourages participation in a commercial activity. Emails, electronic newsletters, texts, SMS, electronic alerts and instant messages all fall within the definition of electronic messages. The legislation does not apply to direct telephone conversations, faxes or voicemails sent to a machine or hardcopy materials sent using traditional delivery methods.

If an electronic message – or any part of it – includes a request, promotion or inducement for commercial activity, it may be considered a CEM. “Commercial” is defined very broadly and includes any activity with a commercial character, whether or not there is an expectation of profit.

Any message that promotes a product or service and thus encourages the recipient to purchase that product or service may be considered CEM.

The CEM rules apply to messages sent by any employee or representative of an organization. If your email signature includes a logo, hyperlink or tagline that promotes a commercial activity, every email you send may be considered a CEM.

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