If you’re reading this, chances are CASL is already out hunting spammers day and night.

The full act can be found here, but if you’re like me, you don’t speak legalese – especially if it takes more than six scrolls and has no pictures!

That’s why this post will give you the downlow on what you need to know about Canada’s best super hero since Wolverine.

Please note, this blog post is intended to be informative and by no means a substitute for legal counsel should you find yourself in contradiction of the law. Each legal case is subjective.

What is CASL?

While not exactly a superhero, this act gets rid of the bad guys just as effectively.

CASL is the new Canadian Anti-Spam Law effective from the 1st of July 2014. The law requires that consent be gained from current and future recipients of email marketing – implied or express (more on this later).


If you haven’t gained any express consent from the people on your mailing list, don’t worry just yet – CASL allows a three year grace period from the 1st of July in order for businesses to gain consent from their current clients, however, this grace period will NOT apply to relationships established after the first of July.

Spam Doesn’t Pay

Who needs gameshows?

CASL can make an offended party a millionaire overnight – charging as much as 1 million dollars for an individual in contradiction of the act or a maximum of 10 million dollars for a company breaking the law.

How to Play Ball

If you learned anything from the Bobby Fuller Four it’s that you can’t fight the law and win.

CASL has three requirements for anyone sending a marketing email.

1. Consent

Before you begin sending your electronic messages (emails), you must have implicit or express consent from the person you are sending your mail to.

Implicit consent in terms of CASL can be obtained in a variety of ways – from inquiry to actual purchases of a product.

Each way of obtaining implicit consent has a certain time frame attached to it for that consent to remain and can be anywhere from 6 – 24 months.

Business cards that you have acquired count as implied consent as long as the content of your email applies to that person’s position and that person has not expressly stated that they do not wish to obtain email.

Express consent in terms of CASL can be obtained through methods such as double opt in, website confirmation and the like.

Express consent can be obtained in writing or orally and lasts until the person giving the consent takes it back and revokes it. However, the onus of proving consent is on the sender – so it’s a good idea to start keeping a record of written consent.

You CANNOT obtain express consent through pre ticked boxes or any other method that requires no action on behalf of the recipient.

Addresses you obtain via referrals are the exception to the consent rule if the person who referred the referee has a relationship (business or otherwise) with the referred and the business that is sending the email.

What is important to remember here is that if you keep up good email practice, you should be fine – but it is still recommended that you obtain express consent via double opt in for new clients and a re-confirmation email for existing clients.

2. Identification

You must CLEARLY identify yourself in every email that you send out.

This is something that you should already be doing along with clearly making your contact details easy to access for the reader

3. Unsubscribe Option

There must be a CLEAR and easily accessible unsubscribe option attached to every email that you send.

It is also a good idea to make the process as quick and easy as possible for your sender reputation and deliverability.

The Bottom Line

  • Be sure that every email you send has consent, identification and an unsubscribe button that are all easily identified by the reader.
  • Keep a reliable record of the consent of every individual.
  • CASL only applies to Canadian citizens, but contains good email practice that helps your deliverability in general.
  • If you haven’t already, obtain express consent from all your current clients through a confirmation email.
  • For future clients, ALWAYS use a double opt in.

Here are some resources to help you understand the law better:

  1. The Law Itself
  1. A helpful video
  1. FAQ on CASL
  1. Course of Legal implications on CASL (presentation)

SharpSpring Mail + has some articles that help with deliverability and good email practice that will help guard against CASL and being reported as a spammer, as well as some tools and services that improve sender reputation.

Do you have any questions on CASL? How will this change business as usual? Let us know in the comments below!


  • Author: maryka.burger

  • Maryka has worked across multiple industries ranging from hard news journalism to digital tech companies and advertising. She is an expert at building online presence, and offers a wealth of knowledge on digital marketing, social media and automation trends to agencies and digital start-ups.