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Is Cold Calling/Emailing Illegal in Canada?

Devampre

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Jan 6, 2016
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So, I've been researching about Canada's anti-spam legislation. I haven't yet contacted any attorney's or anything. But, from the information I've read I am a little perplexed whether or not I am able to email or call other businesses to discuss or sell my services.

Any legal experts, Canadian business owners, or anyone that has dealt with this that could help guide me? I don't want to feel like I'm action faking or delay my efforts for too long.
 

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Blu H

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Unless I was a giant corporation... I wouldn't sweat about it, and just reach out! I was a receptionist for a trucking company... and constantly received prospecting emails which my boss didn't care about!
 

MrNiceGuy

New Contributor
Feb 20, 2019
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So, I've been researching about Canada's anti-spam legislation. I haven't yet contacted any attorney's or anything. But, from the information I've read I am a little perplexed whether or not I am able to email or call other businesses to discuss or sell my services.

Any legal experts, Canadian business owners, or anyone that has dealt with this that could help guide me? I don't want to feel like I'm action faking or delay my efforts for too long.
Hey fellow canadian! I wouldn't worry at all about this. I've made plenty of cold calls over the years never had an issue, I used to cold call on saturday nights even sundays as late as 9:30pm. I've worked for companies making thousands of cold calls a day and never heard of any repercussions. Unless you are sending out voicemail blasts to millions of people this shouldn't even be on your radar. Good Luck! just remember every no is one step closer to a yes. I would watch/practice jordan belforts straight line persuasion system if you are trying to close over the phone. You can find it online if you dig. I think theirs about 10 modules. It helped me tremendously when i was selling, even now i still apply his system to parts of my life.
 
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OP
Devampre

Devampre

Contributor
Jan 6, 2016
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Canada
Unless I was a giant corporation... I wouldn't sweat about it, and just reach out! I was a receptionist for a trucking company... and constantly received prospecting emails which my boss didn't care about!
I think the legislation makes it tricky to understand what constitutes as implied consent. Making cold prospecting via email a bit of a grey area. But, I may try use social networks to mitigate the risk of an expensive fine. Even if there is little risk.

Hey fellow canadian! I wouldn't worry at all about this. I've made plenty of cold calls over the years never had an issue, I used to cold call on saturday nights even sundays as late as 9:30pm. I've worked for companies making thousands of cold calls a day and never heard of any repercussions. Unless you are sending out voicemail blasts to millions of people this shouldn't even be on your radar. Good Luck! just remember every no is one step closer to a yes. I would watch/practice jordan belforts straight line persuasion system if you are trying to close over the phone. You can find it online if you dig. I think theirs about 10 modules. It helped me tremendously when i was selling, even now i still apply his system to parts of my life.
I wasn't worried until someone that I consider a mentor told me what I was trying to do wouldn't work. He didn't offer any solutions, he just told me that my venture wouldn't work because of Canada's anti-spam laws. Which led me to also check to see cold calling legality in Canada. It seemed that the only safe method of cold prospecting would be walk-ins. Which baffles me, because from the perspective of a business owner I'd much rather get a call or email than someone showing up to my place of business to cold prospect. (Perhaps, to each their own.)

I will try not to worry, but might rethink my cold prospecting strategy.

And I like jordan belforts straight line system. My original plan was to email, setup a call, close over the phone, send proposal, etc.
 

daivey

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Apr 6, 2014
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for those who are saying this is nothing to worry about, you have zero iota what you are talking about. Please stop talking and do not give advice on a subject you HAVE ZERO information about. you are literally telling the guy it's ok to break the law and there are no repercussions. YOU ARE CLUELESS.

this is not something that you do first, and ask for forgiveness later... mind blowing that on a forum like this people would suggest you just go for it.

to the OP:
Yes, cold calling and cold emailing has new rules in effect, and if you are found guilty, the cost is quite high.
You can't turn a blind eye to this.

The rules work like this:
For emailing: you cannot send an email to solicit business UNLESS the person you are emailing has given consent - express consent....
e.g. you cannot email me to solicit business to me without me agreeing to receive your solicitation email.... (so you would basically need people to agree to it first... e.g. "if you fill in this survey do you agree to be contacted about future services?"

Cold calling - telemarketing:
you can still cold call.
However you need to ensure they are not on the national do not call list.
as far as I know a business cannot opt out of telemarketing calls in Canada.. .only individuals..
there is also a guideline on how a call needs to be structured, and the hours you can call.



FOr the email stuff here are the things oyu need to go read about:
CASL
Canada anti spam legislation
CEM
commercial electronic message.
expressed consent and implied consent.

You can get in a LOT of trouble if they want to throw the book at you. This is not something to take lightly.

Ive worked in the banking industry in Canada for a decade and have worked in a sales capacity. This is a very serious item. so much so that pretty much all bank staff (sales) have to complete an annual course and training on CASL and telemarketing rules.
On top of having national do not call lists.... there are also internal do not call lists and internal do not email lists which are also treated differently.

by the way, the penalty for breaking these laws range from up to $1million for personal and up to $10 mill for corporation PER CASE.
So yeah this is not something to be taken lightly.
 
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OP
Devampre

Devampre

Contributor
Jan 6, 2016
67
55
48
24
Canada
for those who are saying this is nothing to worry about, you have zero iota what you are talking about. Please stop talking and do not give advice on a subject you HAVE ZERO information about. you are literally telling the guy it's ok to break the law and there are no repercussions. YOU ARE CLUELESS.

this is not something that you do first, and ask for forgiveness later... mind blowing that on a forum like this people would suggest you just go for it.

to the OP:
Yes, cold calling and cold emailing has new rules in effect, and if you are found guilty, the cost is quite high.
You can't turn a blind eye to this.

The rules work like this:
For emailing: you cannot send an email to solicit business UNLESS the person you are emailing has given consent - express consent....
e.g. you cannot email me to solicit business to me without me agreeing to receive your solicitation email.... (so you would basically need people to agree to it first... e.g. "if you fill in this survey do you agree to be contacted about future services?"

Cold calling - telemarketing:
you can still cold call.
However you need to ensure they are not on the national do not call list.
as far as I know a business cannot opt out of telemarketing calls in Canada.. .only individuals..
there is also a guideline on how a call needs to be structured, and the hours you can call.



FOr the email stuff here are the things oyu need to go read about:
CASL
Canada anti spam legislation
CEM
commercial electronic message.
expressed consent and implied consent.

You can get in a LOT of trouble if they want to throw the book at you. This is not something to take lightly.
I have read these before, but where I need more information is when there are statements open to interpretation such as "implied consent."

I've read that "implied consent" is having your business email listed publicly online. And I've also read that it is closer to "expressed" in which they essentially need to inquire about what it is you do before you can message them.

So, I've came up with some potential workarounds to mitigate the risk of getting fined in the thousands or millions.

a) Connect with business owners via LinkedIn, build rapport, and eventually inquire if the result of my service is at all appealing (not offering/asking for the sale yet.) If they show interest I could ask if they'd be interested in setting up a call to discuss how that result could become a reality. Then the phone call would be explaining/answering questions and a soft close (with an easy/friendly exit if they decide that they do not want my service.) And then pray to the maple syrup gods that I don't get fined.

b) Email business owners in countries like the US where cold prospecting isn't illegal or regulated up the wazoo.

c) Take a couple days off to go to the nearest cities, walk-in to various businesses hoping the owner or decision maker is there and try to sell them on my services.

d) Direct Mail? Social Media ads? Billboards? Flyers? Or anything regarding paid advertising.
 
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daivey

Bronze Contributor
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It's actually quite clear what the rules are. You really should read the FAQs, they are in plain English.

Frequently Asked Questions about Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation | CRTC

There is a whole FAQ about "conspicuous publication" when finding email addresses published online.

So rather than spend 20 minutes on the CRTC website and get some base level knowledge how this works, you would rather "travel" from city to city and walk into businesses?
Cold calling is not really part of CASL. You can cold call business all day long if you wanted.

PS there is no "implied intent" it's "implied consent".


I have read these before, but where I need more information is when there are statements open to interpretation such as "implied intent."

I've read that "implied intent" is having your business email listed publicly online. And I've also read that it is closer to "expressed" in which they essentially need to inquire about what it is you do before you can message them.

So, I've came up with some potential workarounds to mitigate the risk of getting fined in the thousands or millions.

a) Connect with business owners via LinkedIn, build rapport, and eventually inquire if the result of my service is at all appealing (not offering/asking for the sale yet.) If they show interest I could ask if they'd be interested in setting up a call to discuss how that result could become a reality. Then the phone call would be explaining/answering questions and a soft close (with an easy/friendly exit if they decide that they do not want my service.) And then prey to the maple syrup gods that I don't get fined.

b) Email business owners in countries like the US where cold prospecting isn't illegal or regulated up the wazoo.

c) Take a couple days off to go to the nearest cities, walk-in to various businesses hoping the owner or decision maker is there and try to sell them on my services.

d) Direct Mail? Social Media ads? Billboards? Flyers? Or anything regarding paid advertising.
 
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OP
Devampre

Devampre

Contributor
Jan 6, 2016
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Canada
It's actually quite clear what the rules are. You really should read the FAQs, they are in plain English.

Frequently Asked Questions about Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation | CRTC

There is a whole FAQ about "conspicuous publication" when finding email addresses published online.

So rather than spend 20 minutes on the CRTC website and get some base level knowledge how this works, you would rather "travel" from city to city and walk into businesses?
Cold calling is not really part of CASL. You can cold call business all day long if you wanted.

PS there is no "implied intent" it's "implied consent".
1) The FAQ's disclaimer states that, "This material is not to be considered legal advice nor is it binding on the Commission itself." So while it may be, "plain English," it is not thorough and even mentions that a lot of it is case by case. Also, the examples in the Compliance and Enforcement Information Bulletin CRTC 2012-548 and Compliance and Enforcement Information Bulletin CRTC 2012-549 are also geared towards marketers rather than sales. I'd prefer a sales email example that outlined what copy would be allowed and not allowed and if it could be attached under a plea for consent or if it needs to be separate.

2) The "conspicuous publication" FAQ or rather, "From Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) Guidance on Implied Consent," states that one can email a business that has their email published on their website as long as they don't have any statements indicating they do not want to receive CEMs at that address. And obviously one has to stop contacting businesses once they ask.

3) The first statement of your sounds purposefully condescending. But, truthfully I'd rather makes sales than read material that is "not to be considered legal advice nor is it binding on the Commission itself." And yes, cold calling does not pertain to CASL.

4) Thanks... Oh and if you are keen on spelling and grammar you may want to edit your first post you had some capitalization mistakes. :)

P.S. I appreciate your posts and involvement in this thread. But, if I may make a suggestion. I'd rather you refrained from a condescending tone when posting in this thread. (Not only for me, but everyone.) You're a smart guy and I believe you can post higher quality and with greater emotional intelligence.
 

daivey

Bronze Contributor
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Apr 6, 2014
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"I'd rather makes sales "

cliche response on these forums... good luck with those sales, when you're being sued.


1) The FAQ's disclaimer states that, "This material is not to be considered legal advice nor is it binding on the Commission itself." So while it may be, "plain English," it is not thorough and even mentions that a lot of it is case by case. Also, the examples in the Compliance and Enforcement Information Bulletin CRTC 2012-548 and Compliance and Enforcement Information Bulletin CRTC 2012-549 are also geared towards marketers rather than sales. I'd prefer a sales email example that outlined what copy would be allowed and not allowed and if it could be attached under a plea for consent or if it needs to be separate.

2) The "conspicuous publication" FAQ or rather, "From Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) Guidance on Implied Consent," states that one can email a business that has their email published on their website as long as they don't have any statements indicating they do not want to receive CEMs at that address. And obviously one has to stop contacting businesses once they ask.

3) The first statement of your sounds purposefully condescending. But, truthfully I'd rather makes sales than read material that is "not to be considered legal advice nor is it binding on the Commission itself." And yes, cold calling does not pertain to CASL.

4) Thanks... Oh and if you are keen on spelling and grammar you may want to edit your first post you had some capitalization mistakes. :)

P.S. I appreciate your posts and involvement in this thread. But, if I may make a suggestion. I'd rather you refrained from a condescending tone when posting in this thread. (Not only for me, but everyone.) You're a smart guy and I believe you can post higher quality and with greater emotional intelligence.
 

Logan Powell

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Apr 9, 2018
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Banff, Alberta, Canada
"I'd rather makes sales "

cliche response on these forums... good luck with those sales, when you're being sued.
Daivey, who is going to sue you on this in Canada? The damages are nowhere near enough for anyone to take action against you and the crown is not going to bring a criminal case to one individual who is looking for business prospects.

As long as his business isn't sending out hundreds of thousands of automated emails to unconsenting customers, or he's illegally calling people asking for their SIN, he should fine.
 

daivey

Bronze Contributor
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Apr 6, 2014
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Daivey, who is going to sue you on this in Canada? The damages are nowhere near enough for anyone to take action against you and the crown is not going to bring a criminal case to one individual who is looking for business prospects.

As long as his business isn't sending out hundreds of thousands of automated emails to unconsenting customers, or he's illegally calling people asking for their SIN, he should fine.
Thanks for arguing semantics, you know what I meant. I meant being charged by the crown corporation.

"looking for business prospects" is exactly who this law targets. Not sure what is so difficult to understand about the CASL laws. It's not a matter of 'if' but it's a matter of 'when' if you decide to disregard them...
Just FYI all it takes is 1 unsolicited email to the WRONG person (who has some grasp of the CASL law), to screw you over.... but clearly this isn't something you seem to want to take seriously...

But hey, whatever, you're above the law because you're an entrepreneur looking to make sales....

Again, you can perfectly figure out a way to work within the confines of the CASL laws, it's really not complicated. But it's clear now that any out side of the box thinking is met with 'but I'm going to make salez'......
 

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Devampre

Devampre

Contributor
Jan 6, 2016
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I'm just going to talk with a lawyer. I have other questions beyond CASL, but will include it in our discussions as I need specifics.

Only a fool would take legal advice from something that specifically disclaims it is NOT legal advice. So even if you memorize the FAQ in it's entirety, it is a only mere interpretation of the legislation. Also, the examples in the FAQ do not reflect my methods of prospecting or sales.
 

Logan Powell

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
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Apr 9, 2018
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Banff, Alberta, Canada
I'm just going to talk with a lawyer. I have other questions beyond CASL, but will include it in our discussions as I need specifics.

Only a fool would take legal advice from something that specifically disclaims it is NOT legal advice. So even if you memorize the FAQ in it's entirety, it is a only mere interpretation of the legislation. Also, the examples in the FAQ do not reflect my methods of prospecting or sales.
Probably the smartest rule. It would be great if you can share your findings with us as well!

For anyone else who doesn't have a lawyer they can call, there are free legal resources available to you if you are in select provinces. These resources include a lawyer consultation hotline where you can get a free 30 minutes of legal advice.

Find a Lawyer – Law Society Alberta
 

Maxboost

Silver Contributor
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Numerous lawyers have told me that it is very difficult to get sued by anyone in Canada.

Our laws have made it virtually impossible to take someone to court. It can take 3-4 years to finally see someone in court and do you honestly think that ABC corporation making $10 million a year will sue Joe Schmoe for a cold email about redesigning their website?

Managers are busy as hell don't have time to add more drama to their lives...
 

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