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  • CASL: What Marketers Need to Know About Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law

CASL: What Marketers Need to Know About Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law

Canada is introducing a new law, “Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation” (CASL). Marketers have until July 1, 2014 to comply.

Online marketers need to pay attention: penalties for non-compliance can include fines of up to $10M CAN per violation.

More information about CASL can be found here.

CASL and Consent

Under CASL, online marketers must obtain 100% express consent prior to sending any commercial electronic messaging (CEM).

On top of that, marketers must demonstrate proof of consent, including source and time when consent was granted to the marketer.

There must also be a clear method for opting-in, opting-out, and unsubscribing.

How is CASL different from CAN-SPAM?

CASL specifically covers electronic and online marketing in Canada; CAN-SPAM is American legislation.

As well, generally speaking, CASL is intended to cover all forms of  “commercial electronic messaging (CEM)”, including, notably, downloadable software, social media, and telemarketing.

This “messaging” includes (but may not be limited to) messages to email addresses and social media accounts, text and image messages sent to a mobile phone, and telemarketing.

CAN-SPAM is primarily aimed at commercial email marketing in the United States.

Take this Spam Quiz to help understand the scope of the new law.


Although there is overlap between the US CAN-SPAM laws and CASL, there are a few distinct differences:


  • Applies to email
  • Marketers can email a person at least once without prior consent
  • An individual or business cannot file a lawsuit against a suspected spammer. Only the government or an ISP can do so.


  • Addresses a broad range of Internet issuesMarketing in Canada
  • Applies to all forms of commercial electronic messages (e.g., email, SMS, social, voice)
  • Prior consent required prior to marketing
  • An individual or business can file a lawsuit.

Benefits to Businesses

Generally speaking, businesses who already adopt email marketing “best practices” should not be affected by this law.

Deploying a robust opt-in process, while perhaps reducing the overall size of email lists, increases the “quality” of the list. A smaller number of subscribers who have “opted-in” will result in higher engagement, more “opens”, and, ultimately more business.

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