Are you ready for Canada's new Anti-Spam Legislation?

June 13, 2014

If you haven’t already taken steps to prepare for Canada’s new Anti-Spam legislation (CASL), it’s not too late. BBB advises businesses and consumers to know what to expect starting July 1 when the new rules take effect. 

This legislation will be one of the strictest anti-spam policies in the world and should significantly affect how businesses communicate with their clients. The legislation is in response to ever-increasing complaints regarding spam, hacking, spyware and invasion of privacy.

 The legislation targets commercial electronic messages (CEM), which are marketing and communication messages that encourage clients to buy from a business. These messages can be sent via email, text, phone or social media. Since the maximum penalty for non-compliance is $10 million, businesses need to educate themselves and avoid putting their livelihood at risk. 

“The CASL requirements will promote trust in the marketplace,” says Ron Mycholuk, Public Relations Manager for BBB of Central and Northern Alberta. “Obtaining proper consent allows businesses to deal with people who have interest in their company and not bother those who don’t.” 

While at first glance it seems that small businesses will be devoting already thinly stretched resources to another problem; this provides an opportunity for those businesses to revamp marketing strategies and build better contacts with their current and prospective clients. 

Here are some tips regarding the new law: 

  • Obtaining Express Consent – For new clients your business must get direct permission to communicate with them. They must opt-in to hear from you, opting out is no longer sufficient.
  • Identification and Unsubscription – Businesses must provide an unsubscribe option on all CEMs that is valid for 60 days. Senders must identify themselves, the business, and their purpose, as well as, provide a way for the client to communicate with them.
  • Implied versus Express consent – Express consent means someone has told you they agree to receive CEMs from your business. Implied consent means you must be able to prove an existing relationship with them through past interactions. You can also prove implied consent if you are contacting a business through a public email address for something relating to their business.
  • Replacing implied with express consent – If you can prove an existing relationship with a client, you have implied consent to send them CEMs until July 1, 2017. During the next three years, approach your current clients and get express consent to continue dealing with them.
  • Express consent has no end date – Once you receive express consent, you have it forever. Unless someone asks to unsubscribe from your information.


Here are some steps to prepare your business for CASL: 

  • Check your current contacts – Determine what, if any, consent you have to send CEMs. If you don’t, they might not be good, qualified leads anyway. Use the next month to re-engage your staff by reaching out to their clients.
  • Work on getting express consent – Email your existing clients and ask for express consent, while showing the value of your business. Add a page to your website asking any website visitors if they’d like to receive information from you. 

Customers are increasingly bothered by unsolicited emails and phone calls. This legislation is designed to help people only get messages they want to receive from businesses they want to receive them from. 

For more information on CASL, visit

As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau of Central and Northern Alberta is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 65 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews to help them find trustworthy businesses across North America. Visit for more information.