Commercial electronic messages (CEMs)

Commercial electronic messages (CEMs) – email or text messages promoting college business or services that are only to be sent to individuals/organizations who have consented to receive them. CEMs must identify the sender and provide a means for the recipient to opt out of receiving future CEMs. Please see definitions and examples below.

When initiating an email or text message to one person or to a group, ask yourself:

1. Does my message promote a Durham College (DC) business or service?

For example, does all or part of your message promote our programs or courses (e.g. post-secondary, continuing education, apprenticeship, corporate training, summer sports camps, etc.) to prospective students or participants; does it promote partnerships (e.g. does it promote our students or clients to employers, applied research opportunities to potential partners, etc.); or does it include other promotional information (e.g. specials at Bistro ’67, employment services, etc.)

If it does, then your message is a CEM and you must check for consent before sending it and include the required content.

If the primary purpose of your message is to ask for financial or gift-in-kind support for the college or for a college-sanctioned charitable initiative it does not require consent nor must it include the required content even though it is a CEM.

2. Has (have) the intended recipient (s) consented to receive CEMs from DC?

Current students: 
Implied consent exists for students to receive communications from the college about college business. You do not need to check for consent status nor do you need to include the required content. Note: students retain their accounts after graduation, so please do not assume that you are sending a message to a current student just because you are using a DC Mail email address.

Publicly available email addresses: 
You do not need to check for consent status nor do you need to include the required content if you are sending a CEM to a publicly available email address AND your CEM is specifically relevant to the context of the publicly available address. For example, if you are recruiting new placement providers, emailing “” would be fine.

All other recipients: 
For all other audiences you must use the CEM Utilities to determine recipients’ consent status and include the required CEM content.

When responding to a request for promotional information sent by email or text message:

You can always respond to incoming emails and texts for the purpose specified in the message. However, you cannot add the email address to a contact list for CEMs without obtaining the sender’s express consent to do so.
(See Tip Sheet: Obtaining express consent.)


Checking consent status

You or a few individuals in your department or school have access to the CEM Utilities. You can upload one or more email addresses into the CEM Utilities and it will compare your list with a central databank and re-organize it into those with express consent, those with implied consent, those who have unsubscribed and those who are not currently in the central databank. You can send your message to those who have consented to receive CEMs (either express or implied). You can call or send a letter/paper invitation, etc., to those who have unsubscribed or who are not in the central databank. Please consider obtaining express consent from the latter.
(See Tip Sheet: Obtaining express consent.)

Instructions for using the CEM Utility are available through the Sending Commercial Electronic Messages resources available on ICE.

Express consent - the recipient has taken action to inform the college that he or she is willing to receive promotional emails/text messages from the college. Express consent lasts forever unless an individual unsubscribes.

Implied consent – two main types:

Twenty-four-month Individuals or organizations who are currently in a business or non-business relationship with the college or have purchased a product or service within two years of the date the message is to be sent (e.g. current students have a business relationship with the college; members of the Alumni Association have a non-business relationship with us; an employer who last participated in a career fair who last provided a placement to a DC student 18 months prior to the date that a CEM is being sent would be considered to have purchased a product or service within the previous two years, etc.)

Six-month Prospective students who have expressed interest in attending DC or applied to attend the college through any channel are considered to have given implied consent to receive promotional information from the college regarding programs/courses/events relating to recruitment and admission. If they do not enrol, this implied consent expires six months after their last interaction with the college.


CEMs must contain the college’s name, address and contact information, as well as an easy way for the recipient to unsubscribe or opt-out of receiving future CEMs. Text for this required content is available through the Sending Commercial Electronic Messages resources available on ICE. Be sure to cut and paste all of the text to ensure that the links remain active. If your business unit is not located at the Oshawa or Whitby campuses or Pickering Learning Site, please use the text for the Oshawa campus as it is the location of the corporate office.

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