This video combines 6 interesting factoids about Canada’s email marketing laws. I posted these videos to Linkedin in July 2022 to promote this long writeup on Canada’s CASL laws (what it takes to comply, how much time compliance activities take and the consequences of violating the law).
Text transcripts are below.

Guessing Emails
Zoominfo, Rocket Reach and guessing
people’s email addresses
are popular ways of
building out your
email marketing list
they’re also 100% illegal
if you are emailing Canadians
or your company is based
in Canada
Canada’s anti-spam law: “CASL”
says that marketers must
get active consent before
they can email someone.
There are also several
kinds of implied consent
but it gets a bit tricky
Services like Zoominfo, RocketReach
, and “Email Guessing” tools
are in absolute violation of that
Even if you manually
guessed a person’s email
you’d still be breaking the law
because the recipient didn’t
give you permission
to reach out to them.
2 things you can do instead:
1. Read up on the CASL law
there are provisions for legally
harvesting email addresses
from the web
if they are publicly posted
by the person you are emailing
2. You can still use
services like Zoominfo and Clearbit
to enhance your existing
email database with additional
information about prospects
So you’re not discovering
email addresses through
those services, but your
messages to known prospects
end up being more targeted.

Canadian email laws apply even when Canadian companies send mail to US prospects

Canadian marketers who email US prospects
need to hear this:
Canada’s spam law – CASL – applies
even when you’re sending
email to the united states
that’s because CASL applies
whenever a recipient
OR a sender is located in Canada.
So even if you only market
to American prospects, you
have to comply with both
the Canadian and American laws
around commercial email messaging.
That means:

  • You cannot use Zoominfo, RocketReach
    or services that guess or web scrape
    email addresses
  • You can’t really buy email lists
  • Your email messages need
    to list a Canadian mailing address
    and possibly an American one too!

How to legally scrape email addresses from the Web

Legally scraping email addresses from
the web
here is how to do it:
Under Canada’s email spam law
known as “CASL”,
you are allowed to send
email messages to people
who list their email
You just have to
follow these rules:

  1. Your message must relate
    to the recipient’s business role.
  2. The email address must
    be published online, and the
    webpage must not say
    something like
    “do not email me”.
    …Note that this
    “do not email me” message
    can’t be in the sitewide
    terms and conditions either.
    in the footer
  3. The email address is published
    online by the person themselves
    or their company.
    and they expect it to
    be seen by the public
    Yes: you can email that
    real estate broker who listed
    their own address in a
    business directory that only
    takes listings submitted
    by the person themselves.
    No: you can’t email a person
    because their email is in
    a random directory,
    where you don’t know
    where the listings came from.
    No: you can’t use Zoominfo or
    Rocket Reach to get someone’s email
    you don’t know
    where they got the email
    addresses from.
  4. You can manually copy
    and paste data from a
    company directory, but
    you can’t automatically scrape
    the whole thing.
  5. Finally, you must gather proof
    of publication:
    this can be a screenshot
    clearly showing the email,
    webpage, URL and date.
    I recommend that instead of a
    screenshot, you take a snapshot
    of a webpage using the
    Web Archive’s
    “Wayback Machine” or a
    similar archiving service.

Finally, consult a lawyer
on all of this.
I am not a lawyer.

Big brands getting fined over email law violations

The Gap, Kellogs Canada, Plenty of Fish, Rogers Media…
what’s in common to
all these companies?
All of them were fined
under Canada’s anti-spam law
called “CASL”.
The law lays out maximum
penalties of 10 million
dollars per violation for organizations
and 1 million dollars
for individuals.
But what counts as
a “violation”?
And why are we seeing
a range of penalties
that span from Zero dollars
to Plenty Of Fish at 48
thousand dollars, to
Rogers maxing out at
a peak of
200 thousand dollars?
I was curious about all this
so I read through every
single enforcement action
under the spam law.
Join me in exploring
what the real costs
and penalties of compliance are.

5,000 Email complaints every week

5,000 email complaints every week.
That’s how many spam messages
Canadians report to the
Spam Reporting Centre
The Spam Reporting Centre
was created as part of
Canada’s “CASL” anti-spam law.
Recently, I read up on
every single enforcement
action under CASL.
Want to know what
happens when you submit
a spam compliant to the government?
What I discovered is that:
No, the government will not
start an investigation based
on your spam complaint.
The enforcement agency seems
to pick spammers for investigation
based on other criteria.
Sometimes they need to
pick a high-profile target
to go after.
Sometimes they need to
ensure that they’ve acted
on a certain aspect of the law.
What your spam complaint
is used for, is establishing
the size of fines once the
government starts going after a spammer.
Your complaint is counted
alongside all the others
to see the magnitude of violations.
It is also examined to see
how many different parts
of the law a company violated.
So your spam complaints serve
to round out a case,
but your complaint isn’t going
to kick-start any government investigations.

The 3 Types of Email Consent in Canada

The 3 types of email consent you
need to know about are:

1 – Implied consent from an inquiry:

you have this consent when
a person contacts your business
with a question over the phone
fills out a form online,
or requests a quote
From that moment you
got 6 months where
you’re allowed to send
them marketing emails.

2 – Implied consent from a contract:

after someone signs a contract
with you, you’ve got 2 years
to send them marketing messages.
If they’ve on a recurring
subscription the 2-year clock
starts running after
the subscription ends.
Note that just because
an individual at a company made
a purchase with you,
it doesn’t necessarily give
you permission to email
their colleagues with stuff!

3 – is Express consent:

this is the gold standard
because it is permanent permission
to email someone with
marketing messages.
you get express consent whenever
someone actively takes steps
to opt-in to marketing messages.
This could happen through
checking a checkbox online
signing up for a newsletter
or verbally saying so over the phone.
Ultimately, when you get the
6 month or 2 year implied
consent to email people,
you want to try and
convert that to permanent
express consent.
Whenever someone is not in
One of the other 3 categories,
you have to assume they
are unmailable.
It gets a little more complicated
with email addresses
published online,
and non-commercial messaging.
Talk to a lawyer.
I’m not a lawyer.
I’m just four dogs
stacked on top of each other
pretending to be a person.
Did you like this video?
If so, then I’ve
prepared an entire article
telling you about
how to stay compliant with
Canadian email marketing laws
it’ll tell you what activities
you need to do
how long these activities take up
in my schedule
and the real penalties for
breaking the law
the link to the article
is in the comments