Digital Marketing

CASL and Email Marketing

CASL stands for Canada’s Anti Spam Law. One of the main purposes of CASL is to eliminate unwanted Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs) which are defined as messages where it would be reasonable to conclude that they have as their purpose or one of their “purposes to encourage participation in a commercial activity.”  Its real intent is to eliminate SPAM although the definition of SPAM can be very subjective.

What requirement must organizations meet to comply with CASL?

CASL has changed the landscape of compliance from an opt-out to an opt-in. This essentially means that when an email address is collected you must follow certain processes to ensure that you are compliant.

The most important is affirmative action. For example, no longer will forms be able to have pre-checked boxes that individuals must “un-check” to opt out. Instead an individual must take an affirmative action such as actively checking a box that says they want to receive emails from you.

This process is retroactive so any record that you have in your database must have met this criteria.

When email messages are sent they must contain certain elements such as the physical address of the sender, an active opt-out or unsubscribe process that must be implemented within 10 days, and full identification of 3rd parties if email is sent by an organization on behalf of another organization.

What does this do to email list rentals?

Many email lists have been pulled from the market because list owners either do not have express consent or have been unable to navigate through the murky requirements of CASL.

However there are still many lists that do meet the requirements of CASL and are available for list rental. Cornerstone has communicated with the owners or managers of all Canadian commercially available email lists and has determined if they are CASL compliant for 3rd party email marketing. All datacards in our proprietary list database now carry an indication of CASL compliance.

Opt In Email Canada

Although CASL has impacted the email marketing industry it also presents an opportunity to provide email marketers with a much stronger list product. Cornerstone has brought together some of the largest CASL-compliant email lists in the country and has created a co-op database called Opt-In Email Canada. This database is still in full development although it already boasts a record count of almost 3 million and is expected to reach as high as 10 million when complete.

Cornerstone – your CASL resource

As one of Canada’s foremost email marketing providers we are available as an information resource. Please email Don Lange, Senior Vice President, at For detailed information from the source, visit This is the Government of Canada’s main site on CASL.