Canada’s New Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

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Frank Wehrmann, Creative Director

On July 1, 2014, new Anti-Spam Legislation, otherwise known as CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation), will apply to any commercial message you “send” to a Canadian citizen’s “digital address”.

The new legislation sets out select requirements for sending a certain type of message, called a commercial electronic message (CEM), to an electronic address. If you are sending a CEM to an electronic address, then you need to comply with these three requirements:

  1. Provide identification information,
  2. Provide an unsubscribe mechanism, and
  3. Obtain and record consent.

Identification information (item 1) can be achieved simply by ensuring your emails contain your full contact information in each email. For example: paul@6pmarketing.com

An unsubscribe mechanism (item 2) is integral to most professional email marketing systems like Mail Chimp, Constant Contact and our system: 6PM News.

Obtaining and recording consent (item 3), is the greatest challenge for most businesses, because the new legislation requires you to secure, record and be able to prove that you have explicit, documented consent before you send a commercial message to a Canadian citizen’s digital address.

  • Explicit consent exists when a person is given the option of receiving (or not receiving) messages from you, and agrees to do so.
  • Implied consent may exist if someone continues purchasing from your company, continues using your services in some way or continues subscribing to your magazine for example. Consent to send more messages can be implied in some cases. Implied consent is only valid for two years after a product or service purchase was made.  In that two-year grace period you need to secure (and record proof of) explicit consent.

You don’t need explicit or implied consent if the contact is related to the business process. For example: if you are referred to a commercial website and on that website you see a notice that the company is looking for the kinds of products or services your company offers, an e-mail address is supplied, and suppliers are asked to forward their bids to that e-address, the company represented by that website and e-mail address could reasonably expect to receive emails from you. In such cases, you may be allowed to communicate with the company for two years, and in which time you need to obtain explicit consent. If it’s not given, you must stop mailing.

The right thing to do for your Canadian customers is to send them an opt-in confirmation mailing before July 1, 2014. Our mail system will track and record the timestamp confirmation of their subscription.

Any names in your database that you’ve been mailing to but do not respond to your “opt-in mailing” have not opted out of your recent mailings and may be considered to have offered you “implied consent”. You may be allowed to communicate with these Canadian citizens’ addresses for two years, and in which time you need to obtain explicit consent. If it’s not given, you must stop mailing.

While this legislation does not apply to American e-mail addresses yet, that may change. In the meantime you should construct (at least) three databases:

  • Canada to Canada - Explicit.
  • Canada to Canada - Implied.
  • Canada to all other countries.

Penalties
Non-compliance penalties are set high and allow for substantial per-recipient penalties, from both the CRTC as well as private action by recipients. Accordingly, 6P Marketing encourages you to make every effort to ensure your data is CASL compliant. 6P Marketing will monitor abuse complaints for our network of providers and will reach out to any client who receives complaints related to CASL compliance.

We don’t collect IP address information, so if your contact doesn’t click the opt-in confirmation link, we can’t guarantee explicit consent will be recognized.

More about consent
When you ask a Canadian citizen for their e-address, you must ensure the person knows why you want it and what you’ll use the address for. For example:

  • “6P Marketing would like to send you our monthly marketing ‘arts and science’ e-newsletter as well as occasional invitations to attend our breakfast marketing seminars.”
  • [   ]  Yes

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