Is Your Canadian Small Business Compliant with CASL Yet?

It’s that year – the Canadian Anti Spam Legislation comes fully info effect on July 1, 2017. Wait, before you roll your eyes and click away, read the next paragraph.

The average small business in Canada has nowhere near the list size to trigger an investigation under CASL. And the reality is most small businesses aren’t yet CASL-compliant… and that probably includes yours (and even mine). There’s no need to get alarmed.

Here are the 4 most obvious ways businesses aren’t yet fully compliant.

#1. Subscription process is missing a description of what content the subscriber can expect to receive and how often

You don’t want to be misleading and you also can’t be too vague. Simply “Sign up for my newsletter!” is not good enough. Besides, you want a killer call-to-action; it makes good sense regardless of CASL.

Offering a free download? If you plan to add the contact to your regular mailing list, you still need to say that.
#2. Mailing address missing from subscription process

The regulations say that a physical address must be used, not just in the footer of your emails but also accessible when people subscribe. If your mailing address isn’t on your website, you might consider adding it to your landing page or autoresponder that people see after signing up.

#3. Asking for express consent then continuing to email when it’s not received

Until you specifically ask for consent to email someone, consent may be implied. Once you have asked them, and they haven’t given you consent, it’s no longer implied. Continuing to email this person is very much against the regulations. You are better not to ask at all.

#4. No unsubscribe functionality in *regular* email

This is a tough one to implement. There are apps for that but no free and simple solution. I’m not compliant with this one yet. This also brings up the significant challenge with managing permissions across multiple platforms (let’s not go there).

Whether or not your business is fully compliant with CASL, consider whether it’s important for you to be perceived as compliant. (Find more CASL information here.)

photo by psd / Flickr

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5 thoughts on “Is Your Canadian Small Business Compliant with CASL Yet?”

  1. Hi Linda,

    I have been implementing all the changes since 2014. In general I don't find that I get less spam mail because of CASL.
    A colleague and I just discussed today if a double opt-in to our email list is necessary.
    What is your opinion on that?
    Thank you for all the great information that comes into my inbox with my consent. (smile)
    Have a great rest of the week, Jacqueline

  2. Hi Jacqueline, thanks for writing. Double opt-in is not a good process to implement. I got blacklisted after implementing it for a month! I could have sworn I wrote a blog post about it but now can't find it to send to you. Hmm I might have to do that now 🙂 For now, trust me, it's not a good idea – I'll send you some info about it.
    PS: You're a long time subscriber and I'm glad you're still getting value 🙂

  3. Hi Linda,
    I think CASL was a huge waste of taxpayers money. I agree with Jacqueline that it hasn't reduced the amount of span that filters through. Marketers from other countries will still email us Canadians and there isn't anything that the government can do to stop that. However it is killing Canadian online marketers that have important offers to announce.

    There is an app called that is useful for quick unsubscribe.

    I do like the rule that says you need an unsubscribe button. If there isn't a button, I just filter their messages to go straight to my Trash so I never see them again.

    I am a marketer to Local businesses and CSAL is killing my Canadian growth. Now I market almost exclusively to the US and UK. Shame actually, because what I market, every local business could use. In the end the government looses the GST on my american sales.

  4. Hi Joan, thanks for your input. It's terrible now we've created a situation where foreign spammers have a competitive advantage over legitimate Canadian marketers. And at what cost? I keep asking people and NO ONE says the amount of spam has dropped.

Comments are closed.