Navigating Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL): A Comprehensive Guide

3 minute read

Understanding the Basics of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

Similar to CAN-SPAM in the United States, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) applies to commercial email marketing sent to any Canadian citizen’s email address. It went into effect on July 1, 2014 and remains in effect to this day.

Visit the Government of Canada’s website to learn more about CASL.

Please note, the information provided below is a summary CASL and meant for information purposes. Please seek legal counsel if CASL applies to your business.

DailyStory’s Anti-Spam policy states that it is our customer’s responsibility to be CASL compliant.

Comparing CASL with CAN-SPAM: Key Differences Explained

CAN-SPAM laws state that commercial emails must include a physical address and provide an unsubscribe option. However, it does not require explicit consent to send an email. CASL does.

CASL requires explicit, documented consent before you send emails.

Explicit consent to email (opt-in) is required

Explicit consent occurs when a recipient requests to opt-in to receive email messages. For example, opting in to receive your digital marketing newsletter.

Consent may be implied in some emails

Consent may be implied in some situations. For example, if a contact purchases a good or service from your business and continues using these services in some way, consent may be implied.

Implied consent is only valid for 2 years

CASL implied consent is valid for two years after the subscription or services have been provided.

If explicit consent hasn’t been given within those two years, you must discontinue email messaging.

Exceptions to CASL explicit consent

Some situations don’t require explicit or implied consent, such as transactional email.

Similar to CAN-SPAM, transactional email without consent is allowed under CASL.

Other exceptions include when contact information is publicly published for the purposes of being contacted.

But again, if explicit consent or implied consent is not obtained in that time, you must discontinue email messaging.

Segmenting Canadian Contacts for Effective CASL Compliance

If you are unsure if you have Canadian contacts in your audience, you can create a Canadian segment that groups members together by multiple fields, e.g. country, area code, etc.. Next, send them an opt-in email and ask them to confirm their opt-in status. This will make you CASL compliant.

Keep in mind that if someone disputes the opt-in, the government will ask you for at least the timestamp for the confirmation of the subscription.

Embracing CASL as a Framework for Permission-Based Marketing

If you’re asking for their email addresses, make sure you clearly identify the types of emails they’ll receive, the frequency, and from whom. As part of CASL compliance, it’s also important to keep an audit log for opt-ins to provide when  recipients asked to receive your emails. CASL includes penalties per-email address, both from recipients and the Canadian governing body.

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