Can you explain CASL?

Can you explain CASL?

Compliance FAQs

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) refers to a law that establishes compliance requirements for those who send emails with the primary purpose of advertising or promoting a commercial product or service. All emails sent out via the SimplyCast email marketing system will automatically include two mandatory compliance options:

1. Automatic unsubscribe link.

Our system automatically adds an unsubscribe link to the bottom of every email sent from our system ensuring there is always a clear, easy to use, and fully functional unsubscribe method included with every email campaign.

2. Postal mailing address. 

Also, the sender of the email (i.e. the person or company noted in the “From” label) must display a physical postal address within the content of the message.

On July 1, 2014, a new legislation called CASL came into effect. If your business is not compliant, you could face penalties of up to $10 million, so you should make sure CASL compliance is high on your list of priorities. The legislation pertains to any commercial electronic messaging as well as installation of computer programs. Review the legislation to make sure your business is anti-spam compliant.

Read more about CASL on the Government of Canada's webpage.

Obtain opt-in consent before you send

Before you send commercial messages, you need to be absolutely sure that each of your contacts has opted in to receive electronic messages from you. For CASL compliance, you need to obtain opt-in consent before July 1, 2014 and any time you collect contact information thereafter. Simply send a mass message to your contacts asking them to opt-in. If any of your contacts do not opt-in, you must remove them from your sending lists.

Asking for opt-in consent helps to clean your lists anyway, as it gets rid of old or inactive contacts who are no longer opening or responding to your messages. This process, in addition to focusing on CASL compliance, will actually improve your delivery rates and weed out any email addresses which can act as spam traps.

If you are sending to contacts who do not want to receive your messages, you are wasting time and money and increasing the probability that you will be reported as a spammer.

Two kinds of consent

In general, you need to obtain opt-in consent from each contact. However, there are a few CASL compliance exceptions when you do not require direct opt-in consent.

Express consent: Express consent refers to a contact who has given you permission to contact them with electronic messages. Contacts can opt-in through an online or physical signup form, over the phone, at the point of sale, or by responding to a coupon offer or contest.

The CASL compliance legislation stipulates that you are not allowed to pre-check a consent box on a signup form. For example, if you are creating an online signup form, you cannot default the checkbox to be pre-checked on an item such as "I agree to receive emails from Company XYZ." The customer must check the box on their own.

Implied consent: Implied consent is less direct but is still acceptable under the CASL legislation. This refers to a contact for whom it is reasonable to believe that you have permission to send messages. Implied consent is based on you having a prior business relationship with the contact. To see if your contacts may qualify for implied consent, review the CASL exceptions.

Installations of computer programs

CASL compliance does not just include obtaining permission to send electronic messages to your contacts. If you wish to install any computer programs or software onto a contact's electronic device, you must have express consent before doing so.

Clearly identifying yourself

In order to go along with CASL compliance, you need to identify yourself or your company as the sender. Enter your name or your company name as the sender. Also, do not include information in your message which is false or inaccurate. Using false information to mislead subscribers is prohibited.

Include a simple opt-out option

Every electronic message that you send needs to have an opt-out mechanism so subscribers can easily take themselves off your contact list if they no longer want to receive messages from you. Most companies focused on CASL compliance just include a link that subscribers can click to remove themselves. This option is simple and keeps customers satisfied.

Do not collect contact information without permission

You are not allowed to gather personal contact information. You cannot buy or harvest personal information, and you cannot gather personal information from users' devices without their permission. Spam marketers (obviously not worried about CASL compliance) frequently harvest information illegally, so make sure you're not using spam techniques to try to gain a wider audience.

Review the legislation and your own anti-spam policies

In order to make sure that your company is compliant with the new legislation, review CASL in detail and make note of any items that are highly relevant to you. Although most messages that you send require opt-in consent, some messages do not apply. Recall and safety information, messages that confirm a commercial transaction and messages that provide a price quote requested by a customer are all specific exceptions to the legislation.

You should also review electronic messages that you send to make sure they are spam-compliant. Ensure that your staff are up to date with CASL compliance policies and are following them to the letter.

Still have questions about CASL?

Check out some of the other resources, What is CASL and What does CASL mean for you. If you still have questions, contact the SimplyCast customer care team at or call us at 866.323.6572, ext. 2.

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