email marketing

Are you following the CASL email marketing rules?

How does Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) – which came into being on July 1, 2014 – affect your email marketing strategies?
CASL was passed for individuals, incorporated and unincorporated businesses and not-for-profit organizations. Those who use email, SMS, social media or instant messaging to send promotional, commercial information about their organizations to customers, prospects and other audiences, in or from Canada, need to include some basic requirements.
The three requirements include:
• Consent
• Identification information
• Unsubscribe mechanism


Consent can be expressed or implied: expressed means that permission was granted to receive a commercial electronic message CEM); implied means that based on a prior relationship you have permission to send or simply that someone has left their email address on a website or advertisement asking you to contact them.
Existing valid express consent is acceptable after CASL came into effect. However, expressed consent cannot be obtained via a CEM after CASL came into force, unless you already received implied consent.
How do you get it? Written. Subscription or Referral.
• You can obtain consent either in writing or orally. Either way, the person who is sending the message must provide proof that they obtained consent to send the message.

• Subscription via an enrollment form mechanism whether online or in print.

• A referral must be made by an individual who has an existing business or non-business relationship, a family or a personal relationship with the sender and the recipient of a CEM.

• If a business card was given, it is implied consent, and can only be used if the message relates to the recipient’s role, functions or duties; and the recipient has not, when handing you the business card, made a statement that they do not wish to receive CEMs at their address.

• Consent is also implied with memberships. A membership is the status of having been accepted as a member of a club, association or voluntary organization in accordance with its membership requirements. You should also ensure that the organization is:

• a non-profit organization,

• organized and run for social welfare, civic improvement, recreation or for any means other than personal profit, and

• no part of its income is payable for the personal benefit of any member or shareholder unless that organization’s primary purpose is the promotion of amateur athletics.


The CEM must include a mailing address. You must also include a phone number for accessing a person or a voice messaging system, an email address, or a web address for you or the person on whose behalf you are sending the message.

Unsubscribe mechanism

You must provide an unsubscribe mechanism that can function for 60 days.
NOTE: Messages you send must not be misleading or false in nature. They also must not have false or misleading sender information, subject matter, URLs and/or metadata.
The bottom line: Under CASL, senders must retain proof of express consent, even if consent was obtained prior to CASL coming into effect.

Frank Beecham
Frank Beecham
Mystique Brand Communications