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Text Marketing in Canada: Guide to Reach Your Canadian Customers via Business Texting

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Canadian SMS marketing guide

In today's digital age, SMS marketing has emerged as a powerful tool for businesses to engage with their customers.

The convenience of a text message, delivered right to someone's smartphone, presents a unique opportunity for direct and effective communication.

However, SMS marketing in Canada comes with a distinct set of regulations, rules, limitations, and best practices.

This comprehensive guide aims to help you navigate the intricacies of SMS marketing in Canada effectively.

Table of contents

How to start SMS marketing in Canada

01. Obtain consent (Opt-in) from consumers

If a consumer has purchased from your business in the past two years or inquired within six months of CEM it can be considered as implied consent and you can send your CEM to the customers without any apprehensions. But once you have exceeded the time you will be required to take the consent again from the consumers.

With our automating and scheduling message feature, you can now send reminders to your consumers seeking consent for CEMs.

02. Easy opt-out

Your customers must be given an easy way to opt out of your CEM. With Falkon SMS, your customers can simply opt out by simply texting you ‘STOP’ and once a customer chooses to opt out you will not be able to send them any further CEMs.

03. Clear message and a perfect medium

If you have made it here, let us share some interesting facts with you. According to a study, the average attention span of human beings is around 8.25 seconds and in this modern era, the average human being is being bombarded with information everywhere.

But another stat that might cheer you up is that text messages have an open rate of 98% which is second to none. SMS marketing is the perfect medium to reach out to your audience and having a clearer message in the limited 160 characters is the way to go!

04. Making customer segments

It is always advisable to sort your customers into segments for your convenience. This will help you in making specific messages for the respective groups. If you are a business promoting Tobacco, Alcohol, etc., then the onus is on you to verify the receivers are of legal age and are allowed to receive messages from them.

Also, make sure you filter out the contacts who have enrolled in the “Do not call registry”.

05. Make sure you are using Falkon SMS

Well, yeah not just because we are promoting our product but also because we have some of the awesome texting features suited for the Canadian market such as group texting, auto-replies, keyword replies, shared inboxes, and much more.

If you want to get started with Canadian SMS marketing, schedule a meeting with us.

Canadian carriers that Falkon SMS support

​Bell Canada




Bell Mobility

Google Voice

​Virgin Plus

Koodo Mobile

Text Me!


Bell MTS

Line 2

Telus Mobility

7-Eleven Speak Out Wireless

Ice Wireless


Freedom Mobile


Chatr Mobile





K-Net Services



Eastlink, Inc.



And all other carriers...

SMS Marketing Best Practices in Canada

Building a Permission-Based List

To ensure compliance, start by obtaining clear and informed consent from your customers. This may involve consent forms, double opt-in processes, or other mechanisms to ensure that your customers want to receive your messages.

Message Timing and Frequency

Timing is crucial in SMS marketing. Understanding peak engagement times and avoiding over-messaging is essential to maintain a positive relationship with your audience.

Personalization and Targeting

Segmenting your audience and crafting personalized text messages can significantly increase the effectiveness of your SMS campaigns. The more relevant your messages, the more likely they are to resonate with your audience.

Tracking and Analytics

Measuring the success of your SMS marketing campaigns is essential. Utilize tracking and analytics tools to gather data and insights, allowing you to adjust your strategies based on performance.

Case Studies

Learn from successful Canadian businesses that have implemented SMS marketing campaigns effectively. These case studies offer real-world examples and valuable lessons for your own SMS marketing efforts.

Canadian Texting Regulation

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) plays a pivotal role in regulating SMS marketing. It ensures that businesses adhere to the Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).

At the core of CASL is the principle of consent-based marketing.

For businesses aiming to ensure their SMS campaign programs are fully compliant with the minimum CASL requirements, it's essential to incorporate the following general guidelines into their SMS marketing strategy:

Message Content

Canadian SMS marketing rules require you to avoid misleading information and distinguish between promotional and transactional messages. Understanding these distinctions and abiding by them is crucial for compliance. Please keep in mind of guidelines for avoiding sensitive content and industries that are prohibited from sending SMS messages.

Data Protection and Privacy

In the context of SMS marketing, you must understand how Canadian privacy laws intersect with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and protect customer data. Safeguarding customer data is not only good for compliance but also essential for building trust.

Double Opt-In

Free to Consumer and Standard Rate Subscription Programs must implement a double opt-in mechanism, where consumers provide their consent and then confirm it. This ensures that customers are willingly subscribing to receive messages.

Character Limit

The length of text messages sent to consumers must not exceed one SMS segments, equating to a maximum character limit of 160, unless otherwise agreed upon by the Administrator. Adhering to this limit ensures that messages are concise and within regulatory bounds.

Mandatory Keywords

Specific keywords, including STOP, INFO, AIDE, ARRET, and HELP, play a critical role in SMS marketing compliance. These keywords must be incorporated into messages as required, with a maximum character limit of 160 for mandatory keywords. Additionally, it's important to note that responses to the keywords AIDE and ARRET must be provided in French, while the response to INFO must be bilingual, featuring both English and French.

Standard Message and Data Rates May Apply Disclosure

Transparency regarding message costs is essential. Messages should include a disclosure stating "Std msg rates may apply" unless clickable URLs or MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) are supported, in which case the message must explicitly state 'Std msg & data rates may apply.' This ensures that recipients are informed about potential charges associated with receiving messages.

General Use (Shared Short Code) is Disallowed

Shared short codes are not permitted for general use in SMS marketing programs. This regulation is in place to maintain the integrity of the SMS marketing channel.

Emergency/Urgent Services

Approval for emergency or urgent services is considered on a case-by-case basis and requires the inclusion of a timestamp. These services are subject to heightened scrutiny due to their potential impact on consumers.

Marketing Material Review

Businesses must submit their marketing material for the messaging program for review to ensure compliance with CWTA regulations and to guarantee the messaging content aligns with best practices.

Supporting URL

If a text message includes a URL link, and that link lists mobile operators for any country, it must include all supported Canadian operators. This ensures that the messaging program provides accurate information to recipients.

Terms and Conditions Support

If the messaging service offers a separate Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) link, it's vital that details for HELP and STOP, which allow recipients to unsubscribe or seek assistance, are incorporated within the Terms and Conditions. This ensures that consumers have clear access to the information they need.

Record Keeping

Businesses are required to maintain records of consent. This is crucial in proving compliance if ever questioned. Make sure to keep thorough and organized records.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with the regulations and guidelines set forth for SMS marketing in Canada, as overseen by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) and the Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), can lead to significant penalties and consequences for businesses.

These penalties can vary in severity depending on the nature and extent of the violation. Here are some potential penalties for non-compliance:


Under CASL, businesses that send unsolicited or non-compliant commercial electronic messages, which includes SMS marketing, can face fines. These fines can be substantial, with penalties that can reach up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses for each violation.

Reputation Damage

Non-compliance can result in significant damage to a business's reputation. Customers may lose trust in a company that sends unwanted messages or violates privacy regulations. This can lead to a loss of customers and revenue.

Legal Action

Individuals who receive unwanted messages have the right to take legal action against the sender. This can result in lawsuits, further financial liabilities, and legal expenses for the business.


Businesses that repeatedly violate SMS marketing regulations may find themselves blacklisted by mobile carriers. When a business is blacklisted, it can no longer send messages to customers using that carrier's network. This effectively cuts off a significant portion of their audience.

CRTC Investigations

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) can investigate businesses suspected of violating SMS marketing regulations. If found guilty, they may impose penalties, including fines.

Loss of Business Opportunities

Non-compliance can lead to missed business opportunities. Customers who opt-out of a program due to non-compliance may no longer receive important updates or offers from the business.

Legal Costs

Defending against allegations of non-compliance can result in significant legal costs, including lawyer fees and court expenses.

It's crucial for businesses engaging in SMS marketing in Canada to take compliance seriously, adhere to all regulations and guidelines, and prioritize obtaining proper consent and respecting consumers' rights. The penalties for non-compliance can be severe and can have a lasting impact on a business's bottom line and reputation.


In conclusion, SMS marketing in Canada offers an incredible opportunity for businesses to connect with their customers.

However, understanding the regulatory landscape, compliance essentials, and best practices is critical for a successful SMS marketing campaign. By following these guidelines, you can navigate the complexities of Canadian SMS marketing and build strong, consent-based relationships with your audience.

If you want to begin text marketing campaigns in Canada, then join us on this journey. Schedule a meeting by simply clicking the following button, and one of our Falkon team members will assist you with all your Canadian texting-related queries.

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