New Email and Electronic Marketing Rules for Canadian Realtors: TEN THINGS CANADIAN REALTORS® NEED TO KNOW

Businesses engage in electronic marketing especially email marketing because it works. And it works well. It delivers almost the same results as the direct marketing channels such as print catalogs & postcards, but in a more efficient way.

In general, before spam kills electronic marketing as a marketing vehicle, the government has issued new rules for marketing by e-mail, text messaging & other forms of electronic communication and that will be implemented shortly. CREA won important grants when the proposed rules were before parliament in an anti-spam bill & CREA will follow & look into this issue closely.

The fines for REALTORS® for non-compliance are up to $1million, so please take time to read the details below.



1.) With a few exceptions, REALTORS® can no longer send electronic messages to potential clients or clients without their permission to do so.

2. ) REALTORS® may send electronic messages to a client only up to two years following a real estate transaction and six months after an inquiry from a potential client.

3.) As a transitional provision, REALTORS® may send electronic messages to clients without their consent for three years. That is only allowed when the relationship existed before the new rules are implemented.

4.) It is the Realtor’s responsibility  to prove that consent was given by the client. Realtors are expected to keep any type of document proving that the recipient gives the REALTORS® the consent to send messages.

5.) REALTORS® must lay out the purpose when obtaining consent from clients or potential clients, including information identifying them. Detailed information about how to obtain consent will be included in the regulations issued for the legislation, but it hasn’t been drafted yet.

6.) Each electronic message that a REALTOR® sends should include their contact information, an unsubsribe mechanism or an option to opt out, and any other information that will be set out once the regulations are finalized.

7.) REALTORS® may follow up with new contacts they meet at networking functions and events by email, provided that the electronic message is relevant to the recipient’s business or concern.

8.) Consent will not be implied for REALTORS® to send messages or follow up on a referral unless the potential client expresses consent or has a personal, family or existing business relationship with the REALTOR®.

9.) REALTORS® who fail to comply with these new electronic marketing rules could face administrative monetary penalties of up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for corporations. In addition, individuals who receive unsolicited electronic marketing materials from a REALTOR® could launch a private right of action and sue for monetary compensation.

10. The “Do Not Call List” rule continues to governed telephone marketing. In the future, the government may consider applying the same electronic marketing rules to telephone marketing.

Just like a garden only bears fruit if managed properly, so it is with email & electronic marketing. We know it can work, we just have to get the basics right. The basics of building a list of people who want to hear from you, crafting a message, and ensuring that your messages get through to the right people.

We would love to hear your thoughts.