CASL rules about prospecting using email marketingAs the new Canadian Anti Spam Law (CASL) went into effect this week, those in email marketing still have plenty of questions about how to be compliant with this strict legislation…even within our own email marketing agency.

This of course includes prospecting…no, not the panning for gold kind, but the panning for sales leads kind.

It’s one thing to send an email to an existing customer who has already re-opted in to receive your emails, as Canadian companies were busily asking consumers to do in the days leading up to what has been jokingly dubbed “CASL Day.” But it’s quite another to still want to prospect via email, given the strictness of the law.

If you’re wondering about how you can still use email marketing for prospecting and be in compliance with CASL, keep reading…

How do you use email for prospecting under CASL?
Below is a question about prospecting under CASL, asked by one of our customer service managers (on behalf of a ClickMail client) and answered by our in-house CASL guru and VP, Strategic Services, Grant Johnson. But first, our necessary disclaimer…

Disclaimer: Be advised that this resource includes our informed interpretation of CAN-SPAM (USA) and the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) and its applications. This blog post is for informational purposes only. We include it in our blog to help you better understand the law and how it might affect you. We at ClickMail are not lawyers and nothing presented below is—or should be construed as—legal advice. For guidance in regards to adherence with CASL, consult your legal or compliance department.

Then, the question…

Hi Grant,

One of my clients wants to know how to reach out to prospects that they do not have a current relationship with? I believe the law states that they cannot send an email to solicit their consent. Would the client need to reach out via phone call or have their sales team connect with prospects?


And then answer…

Hi Golda,

It is more complicated than that, but CASL definitely presents new challenges to prospecting.

They are at least a few ways to prospect and be in compliance with CASL. CAN-SPAM compliance is not sufficient.

1. Sending messages with implied consent based on the conspicuous publication of an electronic address; and

2. Sending messages to someone else’s properly compiled, permission-based list.  Yes, this means list rental. But not any rental. The opt-ins must be CASL compliant.

3. They can send one –- one! –- email to a person if they have been referred to this person and they list the name of the person giving the referral in the email.

4. An employee of one organization can send an email to the employee of another organization if the two firms “have a relationship at the time” and the message “concerns the activities of the organizations.”

Regarding number 1 about consent: Consent is implied where 1) an electronic address is conspicuously published; 2) the address is not accompanied by a statement that the person does not wish to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages; and, 3) the message is related to the person’s business or official capacity. The address must be published by the person, or published with the authorization of the person. Examples would be a business or organization website, or a legitimate business directory (like LinkedIn.) This does not include a directory compiled by a company that crawls the web and publishes electronic addresses without knowledge or consent of the address holder. Lastly, the commercial electronic message must be related to the recipient’s professional capacity. This last part admittedly is not all that clear.

I would suggest that your client read this CASL blog post from Return Path. Some of the information I’ve included above is taken from this blog post. I like this B2B marketing CASL post too because it digs deeper into the ambiguities of the law. There are many terms and definitions that are simply not clear and they are not going to be clarified until Canadian courts and legislators tackle issues as they arise. The second post is full of useful examples of these scenarios.

Even if your client fits into one of the four scenarios I listed above, they should proceed with caution since this is really a new realm.


And a final reminder from us at ClickMail as CASL goes into effect: If you’re CASL compliant, you’re CAN SPAM compliant. We recommend that you focus on meeting the requirements of the Canadian regulations because, if you do, you will be compliant in the U.S. too. (See a great infographic showing CASL vs. CAN SPAM to help you understand just how strict the Canadian law is.)

If you have any further questions, or need some additional help with the CASL stuff, we’re here for you! Just call on ClickMail.

Published On: July 3rd, 2014Categories: Email marketing best practicesTags: ,

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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