Canada’s New Anti-Marketing Laws

That headline is a little tongue in cheek, as it is actually new Anti-spam laws that Canada has rolled out as of the 1st of July 2014.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) changes the game for the worse – hopefully other countries won’t follow it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does set a precedent.

CASL affects any businesses and marketers sending email to Canadian citizens. Unlike CAN-SPAM, which accepts an opt-out model, CASL requires an opt-in model. This means you must have explicit (not implied) permission from the recipient in order to send email marketing to anyone in Canada.

Effectively you need to get all the Canadian people on your list to double opt-in within the next 3 years. Although the law went live on July 1st, you have a three-year grace period to obtain explicit (double opt-in) consent from the Canadian people on your list.


This also raises the question of ‘do you now need to move all your opt-in forms to double opt-in to cater for the Canadian people?’ Or what I believe many marketers will do is check for the ‘country’ field and if it’s from Canada then send the double opt-in request email.

The penalties for violating CASL are steep at up to $10 million per violation from 2017 onwards. The best way to protect yourself is to obtain an affirmative double opt-in from your Canadian recipients. Moving forwards I think all Email Service Providers will need to start auto-populating the ‘Country’ field of person records the same way that aWeber does now. I’m in the process of trying to get Infusionsoft to add this functionality ASAP.

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