Canadian Compliance

On this page you will find detailed descriptions of the unique requirements of the Canadian short code certification process and Canadian short code compliance requirements. When considering mobile program compliance for Canada, please don’t forget to check against CASL.

Certification Documentation

CSC Application Form

In place of the program brief used in the United States, this CSC Application Form is slightly more detailed in its requirements. Below is listed some key information you will want to have on hand when completing this form in addition to the message content, CTAs and links to T&Cs.

  1. Party Roles - The CWTA will want to know any and all company entities involved with the short code program that is undergoing certification.
  2. “Call” Flow - You must provide not only the message responses for system keywords, but all active keywords and their associated responses involved in the flow and conduct of the mobile program.
  3. Explicit Message Frequency - While U.S. carrier standards have shifted to a simple “recurring” or non-recurring approach with regard to message frequency, the CWTA still requires that programs whose messages are recurring detail the frequency of that recurrence explicitly (e.g. “2msgs/mo,” “1msg/wk,” etc).
  4. Marketing & Traffic Projections - Even if you’re estimating, the CWTA will want to see them.

CWTA Ready for Testing Document

This form is essentially a repeat of details you will provide in your CSC Application Form, but is a concise focus on keywords, their responses and customer support information such as web pages, numbers and email addresses. Aerialink typically completes this document on behalf of our customers using the information you provide in the aforementioned CSC Application Form, but you are welcome to request and view this document at any time.


Your Canadian CTA should include a bare minimum of:

  • Opt-in Instructions
  • Msg&Data Disclaimer
  • Explicit message frequency if recurring

Message Content Requirements

Note that no message can exceed 136 characters. All compliance language must adhere to the MMA Guidelines.


Single Initial / Opt-in MT

  • Sponsor/Program Name
  • Product Description
  • Message Frequency
  • Msg&Data Disclaimer
  • Help Instructions
  • Stop Instructions
  • Toll-free# or email

Double Opt-In Webpage & PIN or “Reply Yes” MT

Please note that while double opt-ins are no longer required for U.S. web-based opt-in mechanisms, they are still required in Canada.

Double opt-ins are only required for standard-rate campaigns when opting in via the web. When the end-user opts in online, it will trigger a handset verification message which will be sent to the user’s device for confirmation (see Double Opt-In Confirmation MT).

  • Sponsor/Program Name
  • Product Description
  • Message Frequency
  • Msg&Data Disclaimer
  • Help Instructions
  • Action Request*

*An “Action Request” can take the form of a pin code or the request of a response (reply “YES” to confirm).

Double Opt-In Confirmation MT

  • Sponsor/Program Name
  • Message Frequency
  • Msg&Data Disclaimer
  • Help Instructions

Content Messages

This is the message that contains your or your client’s actual campaign content. Be it marketing lingo, jokes, promotions, important account alerts, etc. This message generally applies to Recurring Message Programs, but can also apply to One-Time Programs which have opted to set their frequency to 2 or more messages per query. In those instances, this message would be that which follows the initial one containing all of the compliance language. The only required components in this MT are:

  • Sponsor/Program Name

Help Message

See Keywords for a list of keywords which must respond with the HELP message content.

  • Sponsor/Program Name
  • Message Frequency
  • Msg&Data Disclaimer
  • Stop Instructions
  • Customer Support Info

Stop Message

See Keywords for a list of keywords which must respond with the STOP message content.

  • Sponsor/Program Name
  • Discontinuation of Service
  • Customer Support Info
  • Msg&Data Disclaiemr

Message Components & Verbiage

For the most part, the Canadian message components are identical to those of their US counterparts, which you can read about here. The following are components differing with and specific to Canada.

Msg&Data Disclaimer

This is a key difference between US and Canadian compliance verbiage.

NuTech Latest: Get the top tech stories of the week! 1msg/week. Std Msg&Data rates apply. Reply HELP for help, STOP to cancel. 18001234567.

Note that “Std” (short for “standard”) is not required, but is allowed in this component.


In addition to HELP and STOP, the following system keywords must also be supported, and should respond with the same messages as their HELP or STOP counterparts as designated:

HELP response:

  • AIDE
  • INFO

STOP response:


So the full list of required keywords for Canadian campaigns is as follows:

  • HELP
  • AIDE
  • INFO
  • STOP
  • END
  • QUIT

STOP Instructions

The words “end” or “stop” are also accepted in place of “cancel” in the instructions, “Reply STOP to cancel.”

Similarly, the shortened word “txt” is an acceptable replacement for “reply.”

NuTech Latest: Get the top tech stories of the week! 1msg/week. Std Msg&Data rates apply. Txt HELP for help, STOP to end. 18001234567.

Why is this a carrier requirement?

End-users must be aware that they may be charged by the carrier to receive and send messages associated with the program.

Message Frequency

When message frequency is not disclosed, messages may be perceived as spam and therefore unwelcome, as users should be aware of how many messages they will receive when signing up for mobile programs. The omission of message frequency has been known to result in application rejection by Canadian carriers.

Message frequency disclosure is therefore required in the following program components:

  • HELP/INFO/AIDE response
  • Subscription reminder message
  • Opt-in confirmation message

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

What is CASL?

CASL—Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation—seeks to reduce unwanted spam and malware by regulating Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs). CASL requires all CEMs to include detailed contact information of a message’s sponsors and content providers and robust and conspicuous opt-out options within every message sent.

What are CEMs?

According to CASL’s government website,

“A commercial electronic message is any electronic message that encourages participation in a commercial activity, regardless of whether there is an expectation of profit.”

When does CASL take effect?

CASL legislation goes into force on July 1st of 2014. All CEM campaigns must be CASL-compliant at that time.

What types of messages are excluded from CASL?

Exclusions from CASL exist for several types of messages. Those applicable specifically to SMS use-cases are messages which are:

  • Sent within a single organization
  • Sent between multiple organizations with an existing business relationship, in which the message itself is relevant to the organization to which it is sent
  • Sent in response to complaints, inquiries and requests
  • Sent due to or in enforcement of a legal or juridicial obligation, court order, judgment, tariff or to enforce a legal right of Canada, its provinces or municipalities, or of a foreign state.
  • Sent by or for registered charities or political parties or organizations for fund-raising purposes.

If you are an Aerialink customer and believe your SMS use-case falls under one of the above exclusions, please contact your Aerialink account manager to verify whether CASL applies to you.

How do I know if my campaign messages are considered CEMs?

CEMs are messages whose purpose is or includes promoting or encouraging the message’s recipient to engage in new commercial activity. If a message’s purpose is not to encourage commercial activity but to carry out pre-agreed commercial activity, then the message is not considered a CEM.

What must CEMs include in order to be CASL-compliant?

All campaigns, both short and long-code alike, must provide the following:

  • An express initiation or agreement by the end-user to receive messages.
  • Full contact information of senders and associated parties.
  • Clear and conspicuous opt-out methods.

How do I send CASL-compliant CEMs via SMS?

Because it is not practicable to include identification, contact and long-form unsubscribe information within the 136-character limit of Canadain text messages, SMS CEMs can instead provide their contact information via web page “readily accessible and at no cost to the recipient.” The link to this web page must be in the SMS.

Please remember: Even if your campaign runs on a CWTA-certified short code, you are not automatically CASL compliant.

Aerialink Compliance articles are for informational use only. They do not constitute, and should not be taken as or in place of, legal advice. Aerialink customers are responsible for meeting all legal requirements applicable to their programs and are strongly encouraged to consult formal legal counsel.

This page was last updated 1515185923000