Recently the CRTC added a new FAQ to their list of CASL questions for businesses dealing with push notifications.

What are push notifications?

Push notifications are messages that are sent directly to a user’s device or browser, regardless of whether they are actively using the app or website. These notifications can be customized to include relevant and personalized content, such as promotional offers, news updates, or reminders to complete a purchase. These notifications are an effective way to re-engage users who have abandoned their carts or not logged in for a while, as well as to deliver time-sensitive information in real-time. By leveraging push, businesses can increase customer loyalty, drive sales, and improve overall user experience.

Does CASL apply to push notifications?

The CRTC’s FAQ reads “Push notifications may fall within the scope of section 6 of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation if they are commercial in nature. Some notifications, like weather alerts or virus security warnings, may not be commercial and as such, may not fall under CASL.”

Personally I’m not convinced that Push notifications meet the bar to be captured by CASL, meaning they are sent to an “Electronic Address”. If you’ve forgotten the CASL definition of an electronic address and the use under Section 6 I’ve included both parts below.

electronic address: means an address used in connection with the transmission of an electronic message to

(a) an electronic mail account;
(b) an instant messaging account;
(c) a telephone account; or
(d) any similar account. (adresse électronique)

Section 6 reads:

6 (1) It is prohibited to send or cause or permit to be sent to an electronic address a commercial electronic message unless
        (a) the person to whom the message is sent has consented to receiving it, whether the consent is express or implied; and

        (b) the message complies with subsection (2).

As push isn’t usually tied to a consumer’s electronic address – on mobile it’s tied to the app that is installed, on the web it’s tied to the website you’re visiting – the connection must be to another id that falls under item (d) any similar account. I’m not an expert here though so I’ll admit, I might be missing something here.

I’d be interested in hearing thoughts from experts on push and how these notifications they relate to the definition of “electronic address” shared above.