How to Legally Send Bulk Emails in Canada: A Guide to CASL and Obtaining Consent

by | Jun 20, 2024 | Canada Digital Marketing News, Alstra Technical Blog

Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach a broad audience, build relationships, and drive sales. However, the rules and regulations around sending bulk emails, particularly in Canada, are stringent and require careful compliance. This guide will explore the critical aspects of email marketing in Canada, focusing on consent, compliance, and best practices to ensure your campaigns are both effective and legal.

Table of Contents

  • Understanding Consent in Email Marketing
  • How to Obtain Consent from Recipients
  • Implied Consent: What It Means and When It Applies
  • Consequences of Non-Compliance with CASL
  • Best Practices for Email Marketing in Canada


Mailcan.App Canada Email Marketing Software

Mailcan.App Canada Email Marketing Software

Understanding Consent in Email Marketing

In Canada, the primary legislation governing email marketing is the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). According to CASL, you must have consent from recipients to send Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs). There are two types of consent: express and implied.

Express Consent

Express consent means the recipient has clearly agreed to receive emails from you. This consent can be obtained either orally or in writing, including electronically. When requesting express consent, you must provide specific information to the recipient:

  • Your name or the name of the organization seeking consent.
  • A mailing address and either a phone number, voice message system, email address, or website where recipients can contact you.
  • A statement identifying the person on whose behalf the consent is being sought.
  • The identity and contact information of any third party or affiliate used to obtain consent.
  • A clear, free, and easy-to-use unsubscribe mechanism.

How to Obtain Consent from Recipients

Obtaining consent is a crucial step in your email marketing strategy. Here are the steps to follow to ensure you’re compliant with CASL:

  1. Provide Clear Information: Clearly state who you are, your contact information, and the purpose of the consent request.
  2. Use Double Opt-In: Consider using a double opt-in method where users confirm their consent via a follow-up email.
  3. Maintain Records: Keep records of the consent obtained, including the date, time, and manner in which consent was given.
  4. Unsubscribe Mechanism: Ensure that every email includes an easy way for recipients to unsubscribe from your communications.

Implied Consent: What It Means and When It Applies

Implied consent is another form of consent recognized under CASL. It applies in specific situations, such as:

  • Existing Business Relationships: If you have an ongoing business relationship with the recipient.
  • Non-Business Relationships: If you have a non-business relationship with the recipient, such as membership in a club or organization.
  • Conspicuously Published Contact Information: If the recipient’s electronic contact information is publicly available, such as on a website or directory, and they haven’t indicated they don’t want to receive unsolicited messages.
  • Voluntary Disclosure: If the recipient has voluntarily disclosed their contact information without indicating a preference not to receive communications.

Consequences of Non-Compliance with CASL

Failure to comply with CASL can result in severe penalties, including:

  • Criminal Charges: In extreme cases, non-compliance can lead to criminal charges.
  • Civil Charges: Organizations may face civil charges and significant fines.
  • Personal Liability: Company officers and directors can be held personally liable.
  • Fines: Penalties for non-compliance can reach up to $10 million.

Best Practices for Email Marketing in Canada

To ensure your email marketing campaigns are effective and compliant, follow these best practices:

  • Segment Your Audience: Target your emails to specific segments of your audience to increase relevance and engagement.
  • Personalize Content: Use personalized content to make your emails more engaging and relevant to recipients.
  • Monitor Engagement: Track open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribes to refine your strategies.
  • Stay Updated: Regularly review CASL guidelines and updates to ensure ongoing compliance.
  • Use Reputable Email Marketing Tools: Tools like MailCan – Canadian Email Marketing Platform can help you manage your campaigns and ensure compliance with CASL.

By understanding and adhering to these guidelines, you can effectively use email marketing to grow your business in Canada while staying compliant with CASL.


Mailcan.App Canada Email Marketing Software

Mailcan.App Canada Email Marketing Software

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