Are you familiar with CAN-SPAM and CASL?  Most countries have guidelines your email marketing must follow.  The US put CAN-SPAM guidelines in place in 2003. Canadian regulations began in 2014 and are being phased in, with the final implementation date coming up this summer.

Here are some basics about email in the US and Canada.

What is CAN-SPAM?

Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, US Congress, 2003.

This act requires promotional and marketing email in the US to include certain details and follow guidelines for an email opt out /unsubscribe process.

For your promotional/marketing email to comply, here are some email requirements:

  • Make it clear who is sending the message
  • List a physical mailing business address
  • Include a statement that it is a promotional email
  • Use subject lines that accurately reflect your message content.
  • Include an opt out process, and honor opt outs promptly.

What is CASL?

Canadian Anti-Spam Law, 2014. Focuses on Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM) which includes email.

This law requires organizations that send commercial electronic messages (CEMs) within, from or to Canada to receive consent from recipients before sending messages. It has a transition period from mid-2014 – June 30th, 2017 with the full implementation beginning July 1, 2017.

The guidelines are different for implied or express consent to receive email. Implied consent can expire, so tracking the date and type of opt in is important.

For emailing to Canada or from Canada, here are some opt in requirements:

  • Company postal address
  • Phone or email or web address
  • Opt Out Process

US & Canada Email Requirements Compared at a High Level

Please note this article is informational, but is not meant to be a comprehensive legal overview or serve as legal guidance or substitute for legal guidance. 

Both countries have fines for non-compliance that start at six figures.

You can read more about CAN-SPAM and CASL on these websites and consult a legal advisor for any questions: