Are you located in Canada or do you send emails or text messages to people that live or work there? If so, you should already be familiar with Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL). This anti-spam law, which is often referred to as the toughest in the world, went into effect in 2014 and governs commercial electronic messages (CEMs) such as emails and SMS messages. Since its passage, a number of companies have found themselves on the wrong side of the law and facing fines totaling tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for their violations of CASL. So, it pays to have an understanding of the law and what it means for organizations utilizing email marketing and SMS messaging.

While the anti-spam rules went into effect immediately in 2014, CASL was intended to have a three-year rollout period with new provisions taking effect in 2015 and 2017. In January 0f 2015, new rules went into effect that forbid the installation of computer programs without a device owner’s consent. The final phase of CASL will become law on July 1, 2017, which brings two significant changes to the law. Here’s what you can expect:

Grace Period for Opt-In Lists Ends

When CASL was established, due to the sweeping nature of the law, organizations were given a three-year grace period to verify and confirm opt-in from the individuals to whom they would like to send commercial electronic messages. That grace period ends on July 1, 2017. After that date, if you don’t know the source, circumstances and language used to obtain opt-in from an individual, you will want to refrain from sending CEMs to that person or run the risk of violating the law. CASL requires businesses to be able to show where, when and how consent for being contacted via commercial electronic messages was obtained for every individual that receives CEMs from that organization.

Private Right of Action

Unlike some other anti-spam regulations (the CAN-SPAM Act in the United States, for example) that only allow for civil actions by government regulators and internet service providers, beginning on July 1, 2017, CASL will also allow private civil actions. Under the Private Right of Action provision of the law, individuals who receive commercial electronic messages that are in violation of CASL can recover damages, and the payout could be significant. An individual recipient is entitled to C$200 per non-compliant message they receive, up to C$1 million per day for multiple violations. In addition to individual civil actions, class action lawsuits are also possible under CASL.

If you haven’t started preparing for full compliance of CASL already, the time to do so is now. ClickDimensions’ email marketing and marketing automation tools can help you keep your organization compliant with CASL through the following:


Use ClickDimensions forms to collect consent when a recipient joins your mailing list or requests your emails. Our form builder contains a variety of different form fields, so you could include a checkbox, radio button or text field to capture the recipient’s information and their express consent. The date and time the recipient gives consent is captured with the posted form, helping to prove compliance if needed.


Using the ClickDimensions drag and drop editor, you can easily create email templates that include your contact information in the header or footer. Dynamic content can automatically add the sender’s contact information into the message.

Unsubscribe Mechanism

ClickDimensions’ subscription management tools allow recipients to choose which emails they would like to receive from you by letting them opt in or out of your lists. The subscription management page will show the recipient their current email preferences and allow them to change them, including unsubscribing to all emails. Links to the subscription management page can be included in your email templates.

To learn more, see our white paper on Canada’s Anti-Spam Law.

Please note: Information contained in this article should not be considered legal advice; it is for informational purposes only. We assembled this content to educate marketers and better assist them in their efforts. Consult your compliance department or legal counsel for specific guidance.