What You Need to Know About Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)


In December 2010, the Canadian federal government passed a set of new laws concerning the sending of commercial communications over Canadian networks, which took effect as of July 1st, 2014. How does this impact your email marketing program?

Any email sent either to or from a Canadian computer, mailbox, or network falls under jurisdiction of CASL. If you have an email address in your marketing database that you suspect belongs to a Canadian, or if anyone opens your email in Canada, this law is applicable – even if your business is based outside of Canada. And CASL violation penalties are severe – ranging up to $10,000,000 for an organization.

With a serious impact to your bottom line, can you afford to be out of compliance? Let’s tackle the three things you can do to ensure that you’re ready.

You’ll need to meet three general requirements to remain CASL compliant: (1) consent from the subscriber to communicate with them, (2) your sender information clearly labeled within each communication, and (3) an unsubscribe mechanism in every touchpoint. It’s also important to note that, in most cases, CASL requires the sender of a commercial electronic email message to obtain permission BEFORE they are allowed to send to the recipient.

3 Steps to CASL Compliance:

1. Review Your Email Address Collection Methods

CASL requires that you can prove the level of consent for all Canadian email addresses added to your email marketing database after July 1, 2014. Email addresses obtained with implied consent must be removed after 2 years unless express consent to email them is received.

A consumer provides implied consent based on actions such as having a business relationship with the sender – for example, buying a vehicle or having their vehicle serviced. It’s important to note that implied consent isn’t evergreen; to maintain implied consent, a contact must take a business action with you at least once every two years. Make sure you’ve accounted for the two year window in your process.

Your consumers provide you with express consent when you explicitly ask your potential contacts for permission to send them email, and they agree. Once you obtain express consent, that consent remains in effect until the consumer decides to revoke it.

Make sure to add appropriate CASL-compliant language to every contact collection method you use – whether it’s a third party webform or a paper sign-up sheet at an event, be certain that you’re disclosing your compliance and saving documentation of the contacts’ express permission.

2. Obtain Express Consent from Existing Canadian Contacts

For contacts added prior to July 1, 2014, express consent from known Canadian customers must be acquired before July 1, 2017. Start taking any necessary actions to comply with CASL sooner rather than later.

You must maintain an audit trail as to how and when you obtained consent for each subscriber. If challenged, you (as the sender) are required to prove consent, not the recipient.

3. Make Sure Ongoing Communications Have Appropriate Information

All marketing emails you send must contain the following information in order to be CASL compliant:

• Your Organization name, address, and website
• Information on how to unsubscribe from the email list
• Privacy policy information

Unsubscribe requests never expire, so your process should ensure that you’re regularly updating your database with unsubscribe information from any and all marketing programs. These requests must be honored indefinitely, regardless of future mailing platforms, unless the consumer explicitly submits a new opt-in request for that address.

How Does Outsell Help Dealers Remain Compliant with CASL?

• Our email communications’ “From” addresses are verified and accurately identify dealers as the sender.

• Upon set up, Outsell mandates that our clients provide a physical address for their dealership before sending anything to dealership customers, then uses this physical address in every email communication we send.

• We automatically include a clear and obvious method for contacts to opt-out of future email communications.

• We always automatically process unsubscribes.

• All of our email campaign “Subject” lines are designed to be straightforward and convey the campaign’s contents to consumers.


In short, Outsell handles nearly everything to keep you CASL compliant. CASL is in full effect. Have you taken all necessary steps to ensure you’re in compliance?