What is CASL Compliance & 6 Tips for Creating a CASL Compliant Email Marketing Strategy


What is CASL Compliance?

CASL was launched in 2014 and it stands for Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation. It’s an opt-in law put in place by the Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to ensure that Canadians only receive electronic communication from organizations that they have asked for and agreed to. Essentially, CASL Compliance legislation has been put in place to protect the rights of Canadians.

CASL Compliance

What is a CEM?

CEM stands for Customer Experience Management. Fightspam.gc.ca defines a CEM as a message whose purpose is to encourage participation in a commercial activity.” If your business promotes, advertises, or offers a product/service in an email, you’re sending a CEM.

NOTE TO READER: Although CASL covers many forms of communication, in this blog, we’re focusing on how your business can send compliant marketing emails. These are our expert recommendations and should not be considered legal advice, in fact, we recommend consulting a lawyer who is well-versed in CASL before implementing an email marketing strategy.

Express and Implied Consent: What’s the Difference?

Express consent: The recipient clearly told you that they would like to receive your emails. Ask yourself, did the recipient say yes/agree to receive your email? This is the type of consent that you want to gain from your audience because it is not time-limited. It does not expire.

Implied consent: Can you prove that you have an existing business relationship with the recipient? This type of consent includes someone who has requested a quote or made a purchase. They haven’t actively told you that they agree to receive emails but their existing relationship with your business implies that it’s okay. Implied consent is time-limited and it will expire.

Why Should your Business Care About CASL?

If your business is located in Canada or seeks to communicate with Canadians, CASL applies to you.

Here are a few of the top reasons why you should follow CASL Compliance Guidelines:

  • CASL is not just a recommended set of guidelines to follow — it’s a law and your business is required to follow the law.
  • There are consequences if your business doesn’t play by the rules. Your business can be sued and/or fined and can suffer from a damaged brand image.
  • You want to be communicating with an audience that wants to communicate with you. There is no point investing resources creating great email content and sending it to someone who didn’t want to receive the emails in the first place.

6 Tips for Creating a CASL Compliant Email Marketing Strategy

1. Include an Opt-In Checkbox & a Disclaimer in Your Email Signup Forms

Under CASL, it is required that you implement an opt-in form, instead of an opt-out form. In your email marketing sign up forms, you will need to include:

  • An empty checkbox that asks for permission to send electronic email communication.
  • The name of your business.
  • Your mailing address & phone number.
  • The purpose of the email communication (what you’re offering your audience).
  • A message stating that they have the option to unsubscribe at any time.

2. Keep a Record of All Email Addresses You Collect & How They Were Collected

This might sound a little daunting for some businesses, especially when you are already so busy taking care of your business. An easy way to ensure that you keep a consistent record is by using only one method of sign-up for the entire business. Putting a simple process in place will help you ensure that every new subscriber’s email is collected with express consent.

We recommend using an online form and placing it on your website. You can place it on the home page, your blog page, or any other page that receives a lot of traffic. You can also link to this email signup form from your social profiles — this is a great way to grow your list and be CASL compliant. You can also set up an ipad station with a link to the form at your front desk or bring it to an event and have your visitors sign up for themselves. Just remember to always include the opt-in disclaimer and check box.

3. Create Double-Opt-In Sign Up Forms

A double opt-in sign up forms provides the subscriber with a two-step process.

Step 1: Involves filling out your CASL compliant sign up form and checking the opt-in box; yes I want to subscribe.

Step 2: Once they submit their form, they receive a confirmation email where they must confirm, for a second time, that they would like to subscribe.

This ensures that the subscriber wants to receive your emails and that you have express consent.

4. Create a Reconfirmation Campaign for Your Implied Consent Subscribers

If you have implied consent subscribers that you want to move to express consent, create a reconfirmation campaign. You want to strive for express consent so that you know your have an engaged audience. We suggest crafting a message to inform people that you want them to reconfirm their subscription to your emails. Include a link to your email sign up form and have them opt-in again.

5. Include Business Information & an Unsubscribe Mechanism in Your Emails

Now that you have express consent for your email subscribers, you need to follow through by ensuring your marketing emails are including the following:

  • A mechanism to unsubscribe
    • This needs to be clearly visible in your email. It can’t be hidden and should include a message stating that the recipient can unsubscribe at any time! The most common place for an unsubscribe link is in the footer of the email!
  • Company name, mailing address, phone number and reply to email address.
    Website link
  • This isn’t required but will help to create credibility for your emails.

6. Use a Reputable Email Marketing Provider

Reputable email marketing providers, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, have their own mechanisms in place to help companies of all sizes and scales stay CASL compliant. Most email marketing providers require you to have your mailing address present in all email communication as well as an unsubscribe link or button. They also offer the ability to create a sign-up form for your email subscriber list which holds a record of the date a subscriber signed up.

Although CASL Compliance can seem overwhelming at first, these simple tips can help you get on the right track. To learn more on this topic you can visit the official CASL website. And remember, the experts at Intrigue are here to help guide your CASL Compliant marketing efforts, so don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!

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