Canada has introduced tough new anti-spam laws that come into effect onJuly 1st 2014. This law affects any one doing email marketing in Canada. I am interested in anyone's thought or strategies for this new law. My understanding is that if you are using a double opt-in then you are mostly covered for now. For further reading on the new legislation see:

Further government reading on some interpretations of the new act that goes into effect on July 1st.

FAQ regarding the act, government answers

Compliance and enforcement regulation.

The actual law

Section 6: is the most important to email marketing.

I recently have sat through a local seminar and a webinar on the new legislation. Although there is some agreement on how this affects marketers there is some questions how some of the details will be interpreted.

Who Does this Law affect?
Anyone sending Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM) that originate in Canada most notably email, and text although there are other forms covered as well.

Also it applies to out of country marketers as well, but harder to prosecute.

My Interpretation of the CASL Law
I am not a lawyer and these are generalities I have picked up from the seminar etc. do not take my word as legal advice!

  • Anyone doing email marketing from Canada must have either express consent or implied consent to send CEM
  • Express consent lasts until that consent is withdrawn.
  • Implied consent lasts 2 years or until it is withdrawn.
  • All CEMs must have clear identification of who is sending it.
  • All CEMs must have a return email address
  • All CEMs must have one of mailing address, telephone number, website
  • All CEMs must have a conspicuous Unsubscribe button or link
  • All requests forUnsubscribe must be processed withing 10 business days
  • A CEM is any email or related electronic transaction where there is promotion of any possible commercial transaction. "Buy my ebook" definitely counts. "Here is an update list of my courses that you might be interested in" counts as well.
  • Purely informational emails are allowed, such as product up dates and you are allowed to have your website included in the email but not affiliate links (my interpretation).
  • You must keep records of consent from each of your subscribers. The onus is on the one sending the emails to provide proof of consent.
  • Quotes are not covered under this law, so if someone inquires about something you can give them a full quote.
  • Referrals are fine as well. (my interpretation) such that you can forward the original email to the referred business and a reply to the prospect but the second business can not add that customer to their list without expressed consent. They can contact them for one on one consultation.
  • Computer programs after January 2015 must ask "Do you want to install this program?" and it must disclose what it does in the background.

Expressed Consent

  • The prospect must be made aware that you will be sending Commercial Electronic Messages CEMs on the sign up form
  • A un-checked box that they have to actively check agreeing to be sent CEMs counts as express consent.
  • Double optin where your auto responder sends them a confirmation link also counts as expressed consent if it is completely clear through all the steps that will be receiving CEMs. (This is good for us that are using getresponse, mailchimp, aweber, constant contact, etc. as this can be set up automatically)
  • The prospect must be told that they can unsubscribe at any point and there can not be a fee for unsubscribing.

Implied Consent

  • This is more problematic as there is a 2 year time limit.
  • Receiving a business card at a trade show
  • Phone conversation (should be recorded or documented)
  • Should be followed up with an email with request for expressed consent


  • Up to $1,000,000 for individuals
  • Up to $10,000,000 for companies
  • The current impression is that forced compliance, followed by levels of fines depending on the type and consistency of infraction. This is untested yet and may evolve over time. Essentially an unknown.


  • Not for profit fund raising
  • Personal communication such as between family members or friends (have to prove long standing relationship)
  • Political candidates
  • Business to business if relationship already exists or if it is normal for the second business to be approached for this type of work (this is a grey area for me. Read over the legislation for your own interpretation)
  • There are a few other instances that CASL does not apply read the legislation for the details.

Grace Period

  • There is some provision for transferring emails from implied consent to expressed consent.( read the legislature)
  • 3 year grace period before they start prosecuting people (2017)

Make sure everyone on your list is express consent Before July as after July 1 you are not allowed to send an email blast saying "Join My List"

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Maksim Premium
After reading this I have a question.
When I will get a subscription from for example a address, how would I know that the user is from Canada? Mentioning anything on website: "if you are from Canada" can look racist)
dblacksmith Premium
Hi Maksim
As I understand it the new legislation requires any emails to contain 2 ways of reaching the sender. One is the return email address the other is a snail mailing address which can be a postal box address. This would have a Canadian destination.

For more details on this see my blog post.