Marketing the CASL Way: How to Work within the New Canada Anti-Spam Legislation

By Javed S. Khan

When it comes to marketing, you know how valuable your list can be – especially your email list. It is the key to nurturing prospects and getting more business in the door. That’s why the new Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which goes into effect on July 1st this year, has many business owners concerned.

Let me reassure you – if you have not been spamming people, then the legislation simply means you may need to tweak a few things! Growing a healthy permission-based list that complies with the legislation is easy.

The number one requirement of CASL legislation is around getting consent. There are two types of consent:

Express consent – is explicit permission that is provided electronically, in writing, or verbally (with documentation) to an organization. Unlike implied consent, express consent has no time limit. That’s why it’s worth investing the time to acquire express consent from your contacts – as a priority on your first contact. Once you have that permission, you can keep reaching out to your lists through email, texting, and social media messaging. Express permission does not expire.

Implied consent – There are a few considerations for implied consent — you have to have an existing relationship, or the contact has to have published or given their address. But the details are not as important as this: Implied consent under CASL has a time limit. So it is the worst kind of permission.

Why not just get the best kind of permission right off in any relationship? If you get express permission right away, you solve the fundamental challenge of the CASL legislation.

The final thing to note on permission is that you need to track it.
Should there be any question about compliance with CASL, you need to be able to say when, where and how you got permission. The easiest way to track permission is to have people electronically grant permission – then the database shows a date, time and method of permission.

However, that doesn’t always fit the practical reality – sometimes you need to be able to get permission through a business card drop, verbally over the phone, or at a networking event. Just be sure when you enter their data later, that you include the appropriate information so you can prove your commitment to comply, should your organization be challenged.

Whether it is your email marketing software, or an app such as Captricity or iCapture, be sure to use one of the user-defined fields to enter the information you will need.

There are a few other requirements in the legislation when you send emails out.
You need to include an option for people to get off your list. Use an email system that gives you an unsubscribe option, and include a permission reminder.

Seth Godin in his classic, Permission Marketing, noted that obtaining permission to market to your customers and supporters is critical to developing relationships — ones that become important and are missed if not maintained.

What does this all mean?
The CASL legislation is really just enforcing what successful online marketers have always known: if you market to people who want to hear from you, you will be more successful. And finally, hope is not a strategy… to effectively market your business within the constraints of the CASL legislation, make a point of asking for permission.

And find the people who want to hear from you!

Interested in having Javed speak at your next event?
Connect with him at 416-889-6069 or

About Javed S. Khan
Javed S. Khan is an accomplished & engaging speaker and voice over talent and has presented educational sessions to over 6,500 business owners, entrepreneurs and associations, teaching best practices relating to email, social media and online marketing as a means to drive awareness and more revenue.

He is an Accredited Authorized Local Expert Presenter & Solution Provider with Constant Contact and hosts the ever popular “Best Ever LinkedIn Clinics.”

He is also the founder and President of EMpression: A Marketing Service Company. His company brings your unique story to life through a collaborative and creative process. Whether it’s helping you build/rebuild your website, or manage your online marketing programs, Javed’s team will manage your marketing communication programs from goal identification to delivery.

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