Has CASL Killed Your Email Marketing List?

Now that Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) has been unleashed, I have had several small business owners and email marketers asking me if the email lists they’ve been nurturing over the past few years are now considered illegal because they haven’t received what CASL considers to be Express Consent.Spam-Teriyaki

Express Consent is defined by the Government of Canada’s website as: “Valid consent given in writing or orally. The recipient gave you a positive or explicit indication of consent to receive commercial electronic messages. Your request for consent set out clearly and simply the prescribed information.”

I’m still not a lawyer (yaaay!) but based on the information provided by the Government of Canada’s website and a response I received from Constant Contact, I’m going to say that unless you’re a shameless spammer (and if you’re sincerely worried about the whole CASL thing you probably aren’t), you are likely working from an email list built on Implied Consent and you will have some time to get Explicit Consent.

Implied Consent is defined by the Government of Canada’s website as an: “Existing business relationship. The recipient has made, or inquired about, a purchase or lease of goods, services, land or interest in land, a written contract or the acceptance of a business, investment or gaming opportunity from you.”

In other words, even if you haven’t yet received Express Consent from everyone on your email list, but the recipients are people you’ve maybe met, exchanged business cards with, or done business with in the last 2 years, you still have 3 years to get their Express Consent. This is the email response I received from Constant Contact when I inquired about the legality of my own email list:

“For the implied contacts that were collected in the past two years or had an ongoing relationship with the company in the past two years, there is a three year conversion time. In other words, you do not have to take them out of the list if they have not yet confirmed until July 2017.”

So there you go. Hopefully, this clears up the fog for any of you small business owners who are feeling overwhelmed by the whole CASL thing. But if it doesn’t, get in touch with your questions! Or if you need help launching or managing or even writing your email campaign, let me know if I can be of service.

Best regards,


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  1. pattipokorchak on July 13, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Nishi- good to see some easy to read common sense about CASL. There’s been too much made over the $1 million penalties. Seriously – who are we kidding? Who is going to sue us for spamming them as long as we have an unsubscribe button and take them off our list when asked?

    Thanks for this!

  2. Nishi on July 15, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Patti! Glad you found it useful!

  3. akaljian on July 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    It is funny, I was discussing this earlier this morning. Since July 1st, i have not had a single request for “authorization” and nobody has called me on it either. I am hoping that common sense is prevailing for all legitimate communications and the CASL will be modified from its draconian standard before the 2017 legislation.

  4. Nishi on July 25, 2014 at 6:11 am

    I’m all for common sense too! Thanks for posting, Arthur!

  5. Jason Moyse on July 27, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Nicely done Nishi.

  6. Nishi on July 29, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Thanks 🙂