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What Type of Opt-In Language do I Need to Get Email Consent in Canada?

If you are a digital marketer or online business owner, you know how important the health of your email list is to the profitability of your business.
 
A legal question that I am often asked is what consent you need to send emails to Canadians to add them to your email list.
 
If you are sending emails (or other commercial electronic messages) to Canadians, you need either Express consent or Implied consent under CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation).
 
If you are dealing with people in the EU, you always need Express Consent to send them electronic messages under the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations).
 
The key to Express consent is getting a subscriber to actively agree to join your email list.
 
You can have a check box, but it cannot be pre-filled with an X. The subscriber will need to actively check the box.
 
You need to explain in general terms what they are agreeing to receive and must include an unsubscribe mechanism.
 
Here is an example of opt-in language and would get you Express Consent:
 
“I agree to allow YOUR BUSINESS NAME to contact me by email regarding [PURPOSE OF EMAILS AND CONTENT]. I may withdraw my consent at any time through the unsubscribe link. See our Privacy Policy [insert hyperlink] for more details on how we protect your personal information.
 
Be sure to include your business contact information on the opt-in form.
 
You do not need to have a double opt-in mechanism under CASL or the GDPR to obtain express consent from the subscriber. Clear opt-in language is the key.
 
Implied consent under CASL (for Canada) includes a bunch of things including an existing business relationship, business card exception, friends and family, or a business inquiry (which responding to your freebie would be).
 
You can add a Canadian to your email list for a limited period with implied consent (6 months as a result of a business inquiry). Therefore, getting implied consent is ok, but express consent is preferable.
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