Three Simple Tips to Comply with Canada's New Anti-Spam Law (CASL)

If you work with email marketing, you may have heard of CASL (Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation), which went into effect July 1, 2014. This new anti-spam law applies not only to Canadian organizations and companies but to anyone sending commercial email to Canadian subscribers. Failure to comply with CASL comes with stiff penalties.

It's important to understand how CASL differs from other anti-spam legislation. The American CAN-SPAM Act allows email marketing messages to be sent to anyone, without permission, until the recipient explicitly requests that the sender stop sending them. However, CASL allows commercial email messages to be sent only to those who have given prior consent and explicitly opted in to receive the messages.

Here are three simple tips to help you comply with CASL and other similar anti-spam laws:

  • Obtain Permission: Always ask for express consent before sending commercial email messages to your contacts. The method of acquiring permission should be explicit and require a positive action like checking a box, typing into a field or clicking a button. Pre-checked boxes should not be used because they assume consent and don't involve a positive action.
  • Provide Identification: Always clearly identify yourself in the "From" field and use a subject line that accurately describes the content of your message. In every commercial email message that you send, include a valid physical postal address or a prominent link to a web page containing this information. If you are sending email on behalf of another company or organization, both organizations should be identified.
  • Include an Unsubscribe Mechanism: Make sure that every email that you send contains a prominent and functional mechanism for subscribers to easily opt out from receiving further messages from you. The mechanism can be a link to a web page or an automatically generated URL that allows subscribers to opt out simply by clicking it. Honor all opt-out requests without delay.

For more details and to see how CASL compares with existing legislation in the United States and Europe, visit:

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