On July 1, 2014, Canada’s tough Anti-Spam Legislation comes into force. Known as CASL, it is the broadest legislation of its kind in the world. Designed to safeguard Canadian consumers from unwanted electronic communication, CASL will impact individuals, businesses and organizations utilizing electronic communications as a means of marketing, advertising and client contact. In essence, consent will be required to reach out to new, existing or potential clients using all forms of electronic messaging, including texts and tweets.
On July 1st, 2014, the new law will prohibit:
sending of commercial electronic messages without the recipient’s consent (permission), including messages to email addresses and social networking accounts, and text messages sent to a cell phone;
alteration of transmission data in an electronic message which results in the message being delivered to a different destination without express consent;
installation of computer programs without the express consent of the owner of the computer system or its agent, such as an authorized employee;
use of false or misleading representations online in the promotion of products or services;
collection of personal information through accessing a computer system in violation of federal law (e.g. the Criminal Code of Canada); and
collection of electronic addresses by the use of computer programs or the use of such addresses, without permission (address harvesting).
On January 15, 2015, the additional section of the CASL will come into force.
Unsolicited installation of computer programs and/or software.
The law will be enforced by three government agencies: the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the office of the privacy commissioner, and the Competition Bureau. In order to avoid paying fines, from $1 million maximum for individuals to $10 million maximum for companies, consent must be obtained before July 1, 2014.
Understanding Consent & How To Get Consent
If you already follow email marketing best practices, you have a large contingent of subscribers who have provided the express consent defined by CASL.
If you have been collecting data under PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act), Industry Canada advises you are compliant with CASL.
If you have proof a subscriber explicitly requested your electronic communications, you can treat said individual as CASL-compliant.
If you have existing business relationships, you will have implied consent valid for two years from the last purchase date or a contract signature date. The onus is on a business to prove a deal took place and records must be available.
Consent can be in-person, over the phone or written (electronic or snail mail). Companies are best served by reaching out to clients via electronic message prior to July 1st, and asking them to opt-in.
CASL Tips & Suggestions
Sign Up Forms – Mailing Lists, Landing Page Forms, Lead Generation Forms, Etc.
If you utilize sign up forms on your website, be sure the form is clear and concise. It must identify what organization is the sender. The form must not contain any pre-checked opt-in boxes. The sign up form must kick back a welcome email to the supplied address. The welcome email should contain a confirmation link (known as a double opt-in) with a subscriber click through. Upon subscription, you should have a record of the date, time and IP address.
Every message being sent must provide a visible opt-out or unsubscribe option.
Unsubscribe requests, via link clicking, direct email, snail mail or phone call should be tracked. Make a note of the unsubscribe date and time, and log this information into a CRM database.
Offline forms and data capture, namely registration forms, trade show handouts, phone leads, business cards, etc should not be used for mailing lists without express consent.
Mailing lists with contacts who have not provided express consent must be purged.
Canada Anti-Spam Legislation
To view the full legal document, and learn more about compliance regulations, the Dalen Design team strongly suggest a review of the full legal document. http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-1.6/index.html