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What You Need To Know About Canada’s SPAM Legislation

As you may have heard, Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) is now in effect, but what does this mean in plain English?

Canada is actually a little late to the party with putting anti-spam legislation in place. Passed in 2010, and effective July 2014, this is well behind many other countries. The US and Australia put their legislations in place back in 2003, for example.

A Deeper Look At CASL

As always, best practices rule the day. If you are clearly opting in recipients to your marketing lists, honoring unsubscribe requests, and tracking user engagements, you shouldn’t have any drastic changes ahead. Here’s a summary of what CASL enforces:

  • Senders have a three year grace period for current recipients to obtain explicit consent. This specifically means a documented opt-in to receive your promotional mailings. NOTE: this legislation specifically states that “pre-checked” checkboxes are NOT consent.
  • Implied consent is defined as someone you did business with or got an email address from a transaction. You can mail to them within 6 months of receiving address and for up to two years. There is no similar time restriction with explicit consent.
  • Email capture should not be dual-purpose (aka co-registration) or via “read our terms and conditions.” It must be 100% clear what your users are opting into.
  • Every email must contain:
    1. Name of the sender
    2. Physical Mailing address of the sender
    3. Secondary contact info for sender (phone, email, or website)
  • Your unsubscribe link must work for 60 days after the message is sent.
  • Fines are up to 1 million CAD for personal and 10 million CAD for business.

What Does This Mean For My Sends?

These rules apply to anyone sending email to or from a Canadian location. As mentioned above, if you are in good standing with most current spam laws, you should be in good shape. Be aware of some key differences with other legislation, like the required 60-day unsubscribe availability vs. the required 30 in the U.S.

Following these standards shouldn’t be something you do just because it’s a law. Good sending habits and practices will help you hit the inbox and get your messages in front of readers who actually want it. Learn more about a good sender reputation in this DynEdu video.


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Whois: Stephen Wheeler

Stephen Wheeler is the Director of Deliverability for Dyn, the world leader in Internet Performance Solutions that delivers traffic management, message management, and performance assurance. Follow on Twitter: @InboxExpert and @Dyn.