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Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation is a Big Deal for Engineering Marketers

Your CPLs for the Great White North will be going up

On July 1, Canada will implement new anti-spam legislation that is the strictest in the world.  If your marketing territory includes Canada and you send email to the Great White North, then read on.  Continuing your current practices could earn your company a $10M fine.


“Surely not”, you say, “Our emails aren’t spam!” Sadly, Canada’s new law doesn’t care whether your messages are spam in the sense that you are selling Viagra rather than engineering products.  The law is only concerned with whether you have consent to send commercial messages to each and every contact in your Canadian database.  For most of you, the answer will be “No”. 

If your mailing list includes emails that you have purchased from publishers or list suppliers, or contacts who are not customers, then you are at risk. If you don’t know where your list came from, you are at risk because the law puts the onus on you to prove that you have consent.

Most Canadian marketers are going through a process over the next few weeks of sending one last email to every contact in hopes of getting express consent to send future messages.  Even if you do that, most contacts won’t open your emails or won’t click through.  What can you do?  


The first step is to make sure that all of your future contacts, from July 1st on, are compliant.  That means getting express consent to send messages.  You cannot have a pre-checked box.  People have to take an action to agree. 

For the rest of your contacts, review whether you have their express or implied consent to sent Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs) as set out in Section 10 of the Act.  If you have consent, such as you likely have for customers, segregate those from the names for which you have no consent.  Sending to those would be a violation of the Act. 

As a publisher, we plan to go through a process that gathers consent on behalf of our advertising customers.  However, that is going to be an expensive exercise since many web visitors won’t take the action required to give that consent.  As a result, expect your CPLs for Canadian leads to go up.  On the positive side, the lead quality should be going up as well.


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