Everything You Need to Know About The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) has been long in the works and will finally be enforced starting on July 1st, 2014. But what is it exactly, and why should anyone outside of Canada care? Read on for some frequently asked questions and available resources to help comply with the upcoming CASL enforcement date.email-spam-600

CASL is applicable to anyone who “makes use of commercial electronic messages.”

More specifically, if you have an email address in your email marketing database that belongs to a Canadian, or if anyone opens an email in Canada, this law is applicable.

The law has requirements around implied and express consent from subscribers that may require senders to re-confirm their database.

How Is Implied And Express Consent Defined?

Implied consent is defined as being inferred based on actions, such as having prior business relationships (making a purchase, for example). The opposite is “express consent” which is defined as someone explicitly asking to receive commercial electronic messages.

What If A Sender Doesn’t Know Where The Subscriber Is Located?

It may be necessary for the sender to collect that information going forward. Alternatively, senders can reconfirm their database to record express consent if collecting demographic data isn’t possible.

Do Senders Need To Re-Confirm Their Database Then Before July 1, 2014?

If express consent was already given, re-permission isn’t required. For implied consent, prior business relationships before July 1, 2014 have three years to re-permission their database (July 1, 2017), or until the subscriber asks to be removed. Express consent given after July 1, 2014 has a 24-month shelf life before express consent is required again.

What If No Consent Was Given?

If implied or express consent wasn’t granted, the sender will need to re-confirm their entire database prior to July 1st, 2014.

What If I’m Not Compliant By The July 1, 2014 Deadline?

The goal of the law is to catch blatant offenders. Senders that are making every effort to comply will not be the target of the law, and therefore shouldn’t panic.

There is a 3-year period transitional period after the enforcement date in which consent is implied for pre-existing business and non-business relationships until the recipient asks to be unsubscribed.


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This Is A Lot To Keep Track Of. Are There Any Resources I Can Refer To?

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Email Marketing | Email Marketing | Email Marketing Column | Legal | Legal: General


About The Author: is Return Path’s senior director of email research. Tom uses his knowledge of ISPs, spam filters and deliverability rules to advise marketers on how to get their email delivered to the inbox. He began his Return Path career as an email deliverability consultant working with top-brand clients like eBay, MySpace, IBM and Twitter.

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