The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is coming into effect on July 1st, 2014. This law affects companies who market in Canada and those who market to Canadians.
‘Our concern is those businesses that probably only email on a sporadic basis don’t even realize that this is something that they’re not supposed to be doing.’– Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ Corinne Pohlmann
Get Prepared to Comply
Below is a checklist of what you and your organization can do to prepare for the CASL:
- Permission must be obtained to send a commercial electronic message (CEMs) to Canadians
- CASL applies to all business types, including: individuals, corporations, non-for-profits, etc.
- Consent can be express or implied:
- Express consent is captured when an individual explicitly consents to receive CEMs
- Consent is implied if permission is captured by way of an existing business relationship.
- Clients are responsible for proving consent, we recommend capturing:
- Date and time of consent given
- Medium (paper, electronic, etc.)
- Archive copies of the consent form whether paper or electronic
- Clients must also include the following information in the footer of all CEMs
- Name of the organization or individual sending the message
- Mailing address
- Email or phone number to contact
- All CEMs provide recipients with a clear and efficient email or web-based means to opt-out or unsubscribe.
What’s No longer Allowed?
Under CASL, common activities such as the ones listed below will no longer be allowed.
- Forward-to-a-friend (FTAF) – you will not bein compliance if your organization sends any electronic messages to someone who has not directly opted-in.
- Email appends and email purchasing will be deemed unlawful under this new legislation. Email appending is the practice of matching known customer data (first name, last name, and postal address) against a vendor’s database to obtain email addresses. Consent has not been provided by individuals in these cases and sending an email to ask for consent is considered unlawful.
- List Growth – The traditional methods of list creation through purchases, scrapping websites, using association membership lists, etc. will no longer be allowed. Again, since the companies making up these lists did not directly request individuals to opt in to be communicated with.
- No List Expiry – In a pre-CASL world, marketers could keep subscribers on their list for all eternity (or at least until the email address bounced out); come July 1 this will not be the case. According to CASL regulations, once you have implied consent for a contact, you have two years to mail an individual. After the two years, the business has to again obtain express consent.
By not complying and the response to complaints will range from written warnings to court actions and financial penalties ranging up to $1 million per violation for individuals and up to $10 million for a company.
The CASL regulation is real and will be enforced as of July 1st, 2014. Organizations should be proactive in getting themselves compliant to this new law. The penalty of violating the CASL regulation can be as steep as $10 million for businesses.
Therefore, eliminate the headache of not complying by:
- Changing a few internal business policies
- Adding an explicit consent form to your website
- Go further. Many businesses are using double consent using both an email and or mobile devices. This ensures the individual accepting is doing it twice ensuring “explicit consent”.