What’s The Deal With CASL?

June 23, 2014

A lot of people are asking, “What’s the deal with CASL?”

Canada is cracking down on the way commercial electronic messages are being sent. As your Digital Marketing and PR experts, we make it our business to know these things. So, that being said, here’s what you need to know about permission-based marketing and Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation.

What kind of emailer are you?

A. Super Sally Emailer

Super Sally has fantastic email habits; she always has! She knows when she acquired her email addresses, she indicated her intention when she acquired those addresses, she told her contacts how frequently they would hear from her and even included her contact info. Of course, she offers contacts a method of unsubscribing on each communication she sends, just to be sure. Therefore, CASL doesn’t affect her at all and she’s got a clean list for life! Way to go Sally.

B. Typical Tom Emailer

Most of us, however, are more like Typical Tom. He’s a pretty honest dude, but he isn’t precisely sure where or how he got some of his email addresses. He’s confident that he didn’t steal them from somewhere, or pay for some mega-list. No, his list is full of good contacts of one kind or another. But he does need to change his e-commerce website, which currently features an auto-subscribe feature upon purchase. He also needs to—over the course of the next three years (or before July 1, 2017)—move all his contacts over to a new email list where he knows that they have “opted in” to receive his communications. Typical Tom doesn’t have to worry about adding unsubscribe buttons or including sender info since he already did that, but he does need to obtain express consent. (FYI, express consent is clear permission that a contact has asked to receive emails.)

C. Sketchy Sid Emailer
No one likes Sid. That’s because Sid doesn’t respect other people’s privacy. Sid steals (or pays for) email lists that are randomly generated with no relational basis for communication. Sid currently practices something that is illegal as of July 1, 2014. Sid’s contact list doesn’t even fit the category of implied consent (consent that is inferred based on actions, such as having an existing business relationship, making a purchase or a donation, etc). If Sid did have implied consent, then he would be a Typical Tom. But since he doesn’t, CASL will be hitting his business hard. (However, let’s be honest; Sketchy Sid’s contact list was probably not very beneficial to him in the first place since it was acquired in a less-than-reputable fashion).

D. The Charitable Chad Emailer
Here’s another category that’s kind of unique. Let’s say, for example, that you are sending messages of a fundraising nature from a charitable organization or non-profit. Well then you’re an exception to CASL! (However, CASL still applies to all of Chad’s other non-fundraising digital communications.)


1. Stop sending emails to lists that you do not have any form of consent.

2. Obtain express consent from current email lists that you only implied consent from:

  • You have until July 1, 2017 to make this transition, but why not start now?
  • Jelly Marketing can help you do this by creating simple, valuable emails with a clear call to action.

3. Review your address collection method. Make sure you are:

  • Clearly indicating that you are asking permission to send electronic messages
  • Telling possible contacts what they will get from you and how often
  • Including your mailing address and one of the following: email address, website address or phone number
  • Clearly indicating what organization is requesting permission
  • Indicating the option of unsubscribing

4. Ensure appropriate information is included in emails from now on:

  • Such as your mailing address and one of the following: email address, website address or phone number
  • An unsubscribe feature
  • Interesting content… again, Jelly is happy to help there

Did you know?

Unlike the US’s Can-Spam law:

  • CASL applies to all digital communications including text and social media.
  • Recipients must choose to opt-in; Opt-out features are not sufficient.
  • Our fines are a lot higher: $1 million for sole proprietors and $10 million for corporations.

As a digital marketing firm, Jelly Marketing Inc. takes issues such as CASL very seriously and we make it our priority to stay informed. That being the case, we encourage you, if you have any further qualms or reservations, to investigate the matter further with a legal professional.