Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation. What YOU need to know.

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The first part of long awaited Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) comes into effect on July 1, 2014. This is the main piece and governs key aspects around the sending of commercial electronic messages (CEMs) to contacts and with the heavy fines that are associated with this legislation, it is important for all companies across Canada to comply.

The legislation’s intent is to reduce the number of illegitimate messages that we get every day and ensure that the messages we do get are the ones that we know about and want. Because of this, the biggest piece to CASL is consent and there are two types of consent organizations can have for a contact:

  1. Express Consent – Given directly from the contact either orally or in writing. Once express consent is given, the organization has it forever, or until the contact withdraws the consent through an unsubscribe.
  2. Implied Consent – There are a few different ways that implied consent can be obtained, but generally it will be through an existing business relationship or what is often referred to as the business card rule. Current clients and referral sources are both examples of an existing business relationship

The second biggest part to the legislation is around unsubscribing and giving the contact the ability to withdraw their consent. Each organization could have a different process for handling unsubscribes, but for compliance a functioning unsubscribe mechanism must:

  1. Be in place on every CEM sent out
  2. Be displayed clearly
  3. Be simple and easy to use
  4. Unsubscribe the contact within 10 business days

Non-compliance with CASL can come at a pretty heavy cost with penalties for corporations being a maximum of $10 million and for individuals a maximum of $1 million. A thorough review of your current systems, processes and policies is recommended to ensure that you comply before the July 1 deadline.

For more information on the Canadian Anti-Spam legislation and an action plan for compliance, download our “Canadian Anti-Spam Overview and Compliance” publication.

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