Anti-Spam Legislation has some teeth

On July 1st The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation CASL will come into effect. The law has far reaching effects for all businesses and carries some serious fines. I have asked Frithjof Petscheleit from BlueBird Business Consulting to give us an overview of the regulations and what businesses have to do to comply.


CASL applies to all “Commercial Electronic Messages (CES)” so it covers emails, newsletters, social media messages and even text messaging. A CES is any electronically transmitted commercial message even if it is sent by a non-profit or government organization.


The law applies to all electronic messages received in Canada, regardless of where they originate. Internationally this makes the Canadian regulations some of the most far reaching but experts expect that other countries will follow suit. Unsolicited commercial messages also known as SPAM are a huge drain on economies everywhere. Only 1% of all SPAM messages originate in Canada but Canadians waste millions of hours every month dealing with SPAM.

The CRTC, The Competition Bureau and The Office of the Privacy Commissioner will be enforcing the law. Fines can reach up to $10 Million and can lead to criminal charges.

To avoid facing these fines we have to get and document consent from the recipients of our electronic messages. This means that a potential client will have to agree to receive electronic messages from us. The best kind of this permission is called “express consent”.  An example for this is when someone gives consent by signing up to your email list online.

The second kind of permission is “Implied consent” and you can use it for two years. Implied consent would be someone that you have had business dealing with in the last two years. After the two years are over you have to move them to express consent.

Some practical tips to make sure you comply with CASL:

  1. Be up-front about your intentions – If you are asking your customers to enter their business cards for a draw, make sure they know that the addresses will be entered into your mailing list
  2. If you are currently sending out your newsletters with your regular email program, now is the time to switch to a professional email marketing program which records express consent
  3. Make sure your social media direct messages are not commercial in nature unless you have express consent to send those messages

There are more questions than answers about the new law right now and I am not qualified to answer legal questions. But I can suggest two upcoming events in Kelowna that will provide more guidance and let you ask your questions:

BlueBird Business Consulting helps businesses use websites, social media and email marketing effectively. I am happy to answer your questions about CASL or anything else in this area on my website: http://businessbluebird.com .


This column focuses on business problems and how to solve them. Andrew Gregson, BA, MA , M.Sc.Econ is an economist, author and a Senior Partner in iNTENT Financial Inc, a Kelowna based finance and consulting company. The 4 partners specialize in finance, pre-determined profitability, sales and marketing. If you need further information, please contact us through the website at www.intentfinancial.com.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Andrew Gregson, BA, MA, M.Sc. (Econ), holds a Master's Degree in Economics from the London School of Economics.

Andrew's experience working with an international business consultancy and being a business owner for 15 years was the impetus for his book "Pricing Strategies for Small Businesses". He brings his expertise in finance, pricing and debt restructuring to the table to help struggling manufacturing and service companies to return to profitability. This has helped companies to rebuild value and often to sell at much higher dollar values.

Andrew has contributed to trade journals, "Spark" on CBC National Radio and has been a guest speaker at business networking groups, colleges, universities on his topics of expertise - pricing, exit plans and debt. He is also a frequent contributor to blogs and online postings for business help.

Andrew is currently the President, Board Of Directors intent Financial Inc., his role is overseeing intent Financial Inc., Intent Investment Corporation and other related ventures.


Website link:  www.intentfinancials.com

Contact e-mail address:   [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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