New Report Says Most Canadian Businesses Aren’t Ready for New CASL Laws

Aside from the flood of emails over the last two weeks from Internet marketers begging us to give them permission to continue to send us stuff, it might be a fair assumption that most Canadians don’t fully understand Canada’s new Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) laws.

New data from Constant Contact indicates that the majority of Canadian small businesses don’t either.

Moreover, most companies don’t know how to be compliant and have taken limited action to date to adhere to the new regulations. Less than half of Canadian small businesses (42 percent) feel they understand how to be CASL compliant. Just 33 percent of Canadian small businesses are aware of the penalties associated with CASL non-compliance.

“Despite the fact that CASL came into force July 1, it’s clear that small businesses are behind the curve when it comes to fully understanding the new legislation and what steps they need to take to be compliant,” said Lisa Kember, regional director for Canada East at Constant Contact. “Getting educated is the first step to being CASL compliant, and ultimately, achieving marketing success. Constant Contact has free CASL resources available to help small businesses and organizations, both in terms of education and marketing tools, to enable them to become compliant marketers.”

Just 29 percent of Canadian small businesses surveyed began preparations for CASL before July 1. Another 21 percent of respondents reported that they would begin preparing soon, while the remaining half was evenly split by small businesses that were either uncertain about when they would begin preparing (25 percent) or were not planning to make any changes or preparations at all (25 percent).

The small businesses taking steps to prepare for CASL are largely focused on:

  • Educating themselves about regulations and how to be compliant (85 percent)
  • Reviewing current email contact lists to ensure proper permissions were in place (59 percent)
  • Keeping records of when, where, and how permission to email was obtained (51 percent)

Limited action is being taken when it comes to other aspects of CASL compliance:

  • 35 percent of respondents are working to obtain express consent to continue emailing those contacts they had implied permission to contact
  • 28 percent have deleted contacts from their lists if they did not have permission to email them
  • 28 percent have included opt-in check boxes in online transactions allowing customers informed of CASL to join their email lists
  • 15 percent have posted the necessary legal language on physical email list sign-up sheets (e.g., in a store)

“The relative inaction on the part of small businesses, and their uncertainty about what needs to be done, underscores the need for CASL education,” said Guy Steeves, regional director for Canada West at Constant Contact. “While there is a grace period for some aspects of CASL, all businesses need to be taking action at this point. By focusing on permission-based marketing the way CASL outlines, small businesses will avoid possible penalties and at the same time set themselves up for marketing success.”

Most Canadian small businesses surveyed think CASL will be good for consumers and businesses but are less certain of the direct impact on their own businesses. More than half (63 percent) think CASL will be good for consumers and 58 percent of businesses believe CASL will help mitigate spam. Another 44 percent think CASL is good for businesses in general but when asked if they thought CASL would have a positive impact on their business, only 23 percent agreed, while 47 percent were neutral/ had no opinion, 22 percent disagreed, and 8 percent did not know.

The majority expect CASL will not impact their profitability, gross revenues, and number of customers.

Photo by Campayn



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