CASL Observations

I was at a conference on CASL (anti-spam) last week chaired by Barry Sookman. His summary of conference highlights is worth reading. Below are some of my observations based on both that conference and my CASL dealings with clients so far.

Large companies are spending millions of dollars to comply with CASL. Small business is struggling to comply and to make sense of how to comply and why it is even needed. But you can bet that the true spammers will just continue to try to hide from the regulators.

Opt-in rates for attempts to get express consents so far have in some cases been abysmal – low single digit %. I suspect there are a number of reasons for that. Many on the mail list don’t care (meaning it’s a waste of time to send to them anyway). But many actually do want it and are not paying attention, who will eventually wonder why they stop getting things. The challenge is to request consents in a way that will encourage a quick and easy yes – meaning that the use of marketing professionals may be key to getting a good response rate.

There is so much uncertainty around CASL interpretation that CASL compliance will be an iterative process.

No software solutions are available for the average business to track CASL compliance. There is a business opportunity to develop affordable mini-CRM software that meets CASL rules and evidentiary requirements and can tie in with bulk mail programs and contact management systems such as Outlook.

The CASL software consents that kick in in January 2015 have the potential to cause real havoc. They are being overshadowed now because of the looming July 1 date for CEM, and that the software consent issue only applies to those creating software. These rules are unprecedented, and there is a danger that many offshore software developers will simply not offer their products to Canadians rather than taking the time and effort to comply.


  1. Dear David
    thank you for your comments. i also worried for the smaller organizations such as not for profits who send information to members and non members; it is a challenge for small business as well.

  2. David Collier-Brown

    The general case is genuinely hard, but a subset of the problem is easy.

    If you have an ongoing relationship with large numbers of people, you regularly have to seek their agreement for new services and their terms and conditions. My employer’s programs can direct our customers to a web page at a fixed location, which contains the newest amendments and the full, amended T&Cs.

    If you have a somnolent relationship, it’s far harder: you have to wake everyone up, and they can be quite hard to wake! They can also be grumpy when you do, so it can turn into a psychological problem of how hard to shake them.

  3. David Collier-Brown

    Mr Canton wrote: Opt-in rates for attempts to get express consents so far have in some cases been abysmal – low single digit %.

    Oops! I forgot and my wife reminded me that you’re doing psychologically the same thing as mass marketing to a random and sometimes uninterested public. A 3% response rate is *very good*.