Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) has been around for just over a year now but only recently has the Canadian government started handing out fines for non-compliance.

This past summer, for example, Porter Airlines was hit with a $250,000 fine and the government has warned that even small companies could see fines of up to $1 million dollars for not complying with the law.

CASL affects every business or organization that sends commercial electronic messages, such as marketing emails. To be in compliance with CASL, a company must obtain either implied or express consent and each message must include an unsubscribe mechanism.

It’s every business’s duty to understand and comply with the law. And although the prospect of fines against your business is not an expense you’d like to bear, taking the safe and easy route to compliance may mean missing out on valuable marketing opportunities.

Many businesses use services such as Constant Contact or MailChimp to deploy their e-communications. These types of service providers take the expressed consent list and deploy messaging to that list. They are not looking for implicit consent; and in fact, most of these types of companies won’t even touch implicit consent lists.

But these lists are the low-hanging fruit and a good marketing strategy means accessing that.

Implicit consent implies that someone gives you consent to market to them simply by having reached out to you in the first place. For example, if someone emails you through the contact us page on your website, you can now market to them for the next six months (unless they implicitly ask you to stop). At the end of the six months, you either need to cease marketing to them, or they need to give you expressed consent.

This type of consent can be an administrative nightmare because it is constantly a rotating clock. This is why most service providers won’t touch this list. But it’s a gold mine of opportunity for small businesses and it is worth spending the time and being diligent to explore these opportunities – without overstepping, of course.

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