Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) has now been in force for a few weeks and, surprising to many, the world did not end for Canadian email marketers on July 1, 2014. Overall my observations show that email hasn’t been dramatically impacted for most marketers that were following best practices and properly recording the consents that they were collection prior to CASL. However, for some marketers that may have been loose with permissions, or have been using purchased lists, their programs have been severely impacted.

While many have said that the spam problem will not be solved by this law, and they may be right, I have noticed a slight reduction in the number of email messages I receive on a daily basis. Even the egregious types of spam (pillz, casino and weightloss) have slightly decreased. Yet there are still a few Canadian businesses that feel they have the right to continue to intrude on my inbox with unsolicited emails sent to previously unsubscribed or harvested/purchased email addresses.

Here is a quick look at my post CASL observations:

  • The flood of “Give us consent” emails have stopped, mostly – Oddly enough I’m still getting one a week at the moment. Yet a handful of the brands I didn’t click YES on are still emailing me three weeks later.
  • It’s business as usual for most Canadian Companies that have been collecting express consent and using proper consent management processes for their email programs. You could argue that PIPEDA has required this type of consent since the last was passed and enforcement started. Even when PIPEDA launched there was a flurry of activity around collecting user consents and properly tracking permissions and user data access. This has been an similar experience for many organizations.
  • The CRTC is announcing that they are receiving and processing complaints sent to them (Over 1000 complaints Flood the CRTC) in the first few days of the law being put in to force. I would note that there are a small number of large brands that have been ignoring my unsubscribe requests for some time and are still sending me email messages… So CASL didn’t seem to scare everybody into compliance.
  • People are talking about CASL all the time – CBC Radio had a call in show recently about it (Listen here 2 Hours) and the Globe and Mail has recently written about this law. Many people still don’t understand the law and how they can continue to use email under CASL. Even today I was answering questions about consent grandfathering during the transition period and the implied consent use and definition.

While there are still a number of unanswered questions on CASL, many different opinions on how effective enforcement will be, and a lot of grey area that needs to be filled in over time, the world has not ended nor do I see it ending any time soon because of this law.

In closing always remember to treat peoples inbox’s like you would want your own to be treated… If you don’t have consent or a proper pre-exiting business relationship with your recipients think twice about sending them the email.