The From Line

Sending, Managing & Monetizing Email

Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation - Are You Prepared?

Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation - Are You Prepared?

There has been talk for years about the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) and when and if it will come to fruition. Well, it looks like it finally has.

The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will take effect on July 1, 2014. This legislation applies to all email sent from or to Canada. Businesses have a three year grace period (July 1, 2017) to verify and confirm consent to send email to Canadian recipients but can still only communicate with recipients with whom they have an existing business relationship. Any opt-in information you have before CASL comes into force will be recognized as compliant with CASL. You can review the full details of the legislation here.

Given the looming deadline, it is essential for senders to assess their readiness and develop a compliance strategy for this new legislation. Here are some provisions that should be thoroughly investigated:

  • Permission – CASL has an explicit permission provision. This means that implied consent is NOT acceptable for gathering permission. There are multiple exceptions to the rule, including existing business relationships. Purchases qualify for this exception and the 24-month clock resets with every purchase.

  • Implied consent – There are multiple ways where a sender can obtain consent outside the required express consent. Personal or family relationships, inquiries, and several others.

  • The law applies to email that is accessed on computers in Canada.

  • Very different from CAN-SPAM, this is not an opt-out, but an opt-in law. Allowing people the opportunity to opt-out does NOT satisfy the requirements. A pre-checked box is an implied consent method that WILL NOT be allowed. Auto opting-in abandoned shopping carts and e-receipts for promotional mail will also be outlawed.

  • Private right of action – One of the most talked about pieces of this legislation which allows individuals to bring suit, will not take effect until July 1, 2017.

  • 3 year transition period – Senders have a 3 year grace period to gain consent of individuals. Implied consent is sufficient during this period, but express consent must be gained to go forward after that period.

  • You should update your privacy policy, make sure you are recording consent for proof, and always have a working unsubscribe mechanism.


Ask your ESP to help you identify all Canadian subscribers so you can come up with a plan to re-permission them if needed.

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