New anti-spam law pushes permission-based marketing

March 6, 2014   ·   0 Comments

By Tabitha Wells

If you’re a business owner, new federal legislation could lead to heavy fines if you’re not careful about how you do your advertising and networking.

The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will take effect July 1, and aims to protect Canadians from unwanted spam as well as allowing businesses to compete in the global marketplace.

“Anyone who is going to be involved in commercial electronic messages such as social media and email blasts will be affected,” explained Javed S. Khan, founder and President of marketing service company, EMpression. “The way they will be affected is through the way that they communicate with people.”

The legislation urges business operators to use permission-based marketing, rather than some of the current methods such as signing up someone to receive an e-letter because they left you their business card or visited your website.

“At the end of the day, the smart ones are already doing this,” said Mr. Khan. “This is nothing new, it’s nothing that’s going to surprise anyone who has always believed in permission-based marketing. Unfortunately, there are many, many people who do not participate in permission-based marketing.”

Wings and Heroes, a local business mentoring and support group, hosted a luncheon event on Tuesday where Mr. Khan spoke to members about how to ensure that they are following the new regulations set out by the CASL and practising proper marketing techniques.

“Javed and I got talking through LinkedIn, and he sent me this information,” explained event organizer RaDeana Montgomery. “I just knew it was something important. The reality is we all hate the phone calls, but we all hate getting those emails we don’t want even more. It’s kind of annoying when you give someone your business card and they assume it’s the license to send you all of their business information constantly.”

Once the law takes effect, businesses could face up to $10 million per infraction, with smaller businesses possibly looking at a fine of $250 per email per person. If the company is red-flagged for an infraction, they will have to prove to the government or agency approaching them that they did the best they could to collect their data in a permission-based way and be able to showcase that it was tracked properly.

“There are three things you need to make sure you are doing,” said Mr. Khan. “You have to ask people for permission when looking for their information, you have to ask people, and you have to ask people. You have to ask, and you have to make sure that you manage their expectations.”

Basically, what that means is, if you do an exchange of business cards with someone, and intend to utilize their information and add them to your list, they need to be made aware of this before you accept their business card. Unfortunately, a lot of companies currently don’t bother doing that, resulting in people ending up with way more spam than they would like.

According to Ms. Montgomery, some people she knows receive close to 200 emails a day, with 150 of them being spam from businesses they never chose to get marketing newsletters or e-blasts from.

“I think it’s important that businesses understand the regulations and comply with them,” she said. “It’s not good business at the end of the day to be sending out things that you aren’t authorized or haven’t been asked to do. It doesn’t look good for your business to do that either.”

For more information on the CASL visit

Wings and Heroes is a local mentoring and support group for small business started 20 years ago by Diane McGee. After a career in the beauty industry and mentoring many women, she decided it was her goal to pay it forward and help other women pursuing entrepreneurial goals. The group combines respectful female (wings) and male (heroes) businesspeople to be educated in proper business techniques and life skills that they can in turn provide to others.

For more information on the group, or to get involved visit 

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