How to Start Affiliate Marketing in Canada


I’m a Canadian affiliate marketing veteran, having started in the late 90’s. That means I was there when huge affiliate networks like Commission Junction, Linkshare/Rakuten and Clickbank were born in 1997 & 1998, and I’ve witnessed the rise and fall of many other well-known networks. I was one of the first members of many of those networks and I evolved with them over time. We all used websites and newsletters back then and nobody knew what a blog or social media was.

Rules? What rules? There were no guidelines or laws, no panic about complying with the FTC disclosure guidelines, and certainly no applicable restrictions in Canada. It would be ten years before compliance and disclosures became the law in some countries. Today, affiliate marketing is much more civilized. While it certainly didn’t happen overnight, I continue to earn most of my income from affiliate advertising.

Canada has the third largest number of affiliate marketers, although we’re still far behind the US in terms of both promoting affiliate programs and the number of merchants who offer them. This business offers many benefits and the average Canadian can make a comfortable living with it, once they get going.

Benefits include:

  • Inexpensive to start and run.
  • Manageable learning curve (if you can use Facebook, you have the tech capacity to run this online business).
  • Your market can be as small or as large as you want it to be.
  • You can work with advertisers from all over the world or focus on Canadian advertisers.
  • It’s easy and safer to try selling as many different products as you like.
  • You have full control over how many hours you work and when you do it. It can be a full time job or a side hustle.
  • You don’t have to deal directly with customers.
  • Eventually, you’ll have a source of (somewhat) passive income.
  • Most advertisers pay in US funds, resulting in a big bonus for Canadians.
  • If you don’t want to do it all yourself you can easily hire virtual assistants and freelancers, allowing you to focus on what you’re good at.
  • The income potential is limited only by your strategy, the amount of work you are willing to do, how much value you provide to your visitors and how honest you are with them.