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Canadian Anti-Spam Law What You Need to Know

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06 Jan 2021

Canada has one of the strictest laws precisely when it comes to email marketing and sending out emails. It came into effect on July 1, 2014. If you’re a resident of Canada or intend to send emails to Canadian-based recipients, the email message you’re planning to send must comply with the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL).

In case it fails to comply with the standards described by the CASL, it could lead to unpleasant penalties. Under the legislation, individuals can be fined up to $1 million. Moreover, corporations could face up to $10 million fine in penalties.

Here’s a detailed insight into what the Canadian Anti-spam law is and the requirements you need to fulfill for your emails to successfully comply with the standards defined by the CASL.

An Introduction to Canadian Anti-Spam Law:

A CEM is intended to be sent to an electronic address. It can either be in the form of an email address, instant messaging accounts, cellular accounts, and social media profiles. Moreover, it contains a particular kind of message body, which is primarily intended to make the recipients interact with it and become part of some sort of commercial or promotional activity. For instance, it can either be the promotion of their products or the services that they offer.

The Canadian Anti-Spam Law is applied to any CEM that is sent from Canada or to Canada. Keep in mind that neither Fax messages nor Fax numbers are considered CEM. Due to this, they aren’t subject to CASL.

CASL – How are senders affected by this law?

Canadian Anti-Spam Law has one primary purpose, and that is to protect Canadian consumers from receiving unwanted emails from malicious senders. But how does the CASL affect senders?

Considering the primary aim of this legislation, it can drastically affect senders that are intending to send emails to Canadian consumers. There are specific standards that you, as a sender, have to follow in order to reach recipients in Canada. Here’s what you should be focusing on if you’re targeting your Canadian consumers.

Identification of the sender – In order to reach your potential clientele, you need to provide the name of your business. Moreover, you also need to provide a valid address, along with contact information such as a contact number and an email address where your recipients can reach you.

Implied or Express Consent – It has become a norm for sending emails to Canadian recipients. As per the CASL legislation, you’re only allowed to send emails to those subscribers or recipients who have agreed to receive emails from you.

Storing a record of your clientele – You must keep track of the consents provided, irrespective of being implicit or explicit, along with the actual date and time when the consent was provided. In addition, you must remove the email addresses from your subscriber list as soon as the approval expires.

Providing an option to opt-out – Under the CASL, you must provide a way of unsubscribing from your services to your recipients or the people in your subscriber lists. Moreover, in case someone chooses to unsubscribe from your services, you must honor their wishes and take no more than 10 business days to remove their emails from your subscriber or mailing lists.

The above 4 conditions mentioned are prerequisites for sending emails to Canadian based recipients. We have mentioned implied or express consent in the above conditions required for CASL. Here’s a detailed insight into what implied and express consent is.

CASL – Getting prior consent for sending emails under CASL

Under the Canadian Anti-Spam Law, there is a rather specific requirement before sending messages, be it email or cellular text messages. Without prior consent, sending emails to recipients from Canada could lead to tough penalties. Under CASL, there are two types of consents:

Express Consent – It implies to the individuals who haven’t had any prior business with you. Express consent aims at getting consent from recepients for future interactions. If you’re a sender, you must clearly indicate the purpose of the consent. This includes the purpose, description of the messages that you’ll be sending, requester’s name and addresses, followed by a statement that allows recipients to unsubscribe from your services any time.

Implied Consent – It implies to the individuals that have had prior business interactions with you. It can be used by senders in case the recipient has used your services by purchasing a product or donated to a cause if you’re a registered charity. Moreover, in case there is a present business deal or contract between you and the recipient, it would enable implied consent to apply to them. However, keep in mind, these interactions must have been made in the last 24 months – 2 years.


The Canadian Anti-Spam Law applies to individuals or businesses that intend to send a form of CEM (Commercial Electronic Message) primarily to promote your business services.

It is a mandatory set of rules or laws that must be applied to fulfill the criteria required for sending emails to Canadian recipients. Failure to do so would result in tough penalties. It includes identification of the sender, a consent before any business interaction, storing the record of the consents provided, followed by providing a mandatory opt-out option for your recipients.

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