Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)
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What is the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)?
The new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) takes effect on July 1, 2014. The Dunham Group has been swamped with helping clients (old and new) stay compliant with the complicated rules set out by CASL. The United States’ anti-spam legislation (CAN-SPAM) makes it imperative for companies to have a clear opt-out option on every Commercial Electronic Message (CEM). This is not sufficient in Canada. Our legislation requires clear opt-in. The opt-in must be digital. That means that your database must record everything clearly and time-stamp all entries. If you write to a client and ask them to opt-in to your mailings, which you can only do until midnight of June 30, there must be an automated confirmation email that enables them to to confirm that they did indeed opt-in to your email marketing. This must all be clearly recorded in your database. They must also be made aware in that email that they can opt-out at any time. Every CEM must have clear information about the sender (name, company, mailing address, phone number, etc.) as well as an option to opt-out of future emails. The database must hold record that they opted out and at this point the information must not be deleted but kept almost indefinitely.
Do you have consent?
There is a three year grace period during which you can assume that you have ‘implied consent’ from the people that you are mailing. However, you must truly have ‘implied consent’. The burden of proof is on the sender. If someone complains to the CRTC that they did not consent to receive your email, the government has set the fines at ten million dollars for the organization (profit and not-for-profit organizations are treated equally) and one million dolllars for any individual involved. Many law firms warn that the ‘implied consent’ option for the next few years is somewhat dangerous and penalities can still be invoked if you can not prove the ‘implied consent’ in a court of law.
The future of digital marketing
The Dunham Group is working around the clock to protect our clients on this one. We have the most stringent legislation on the planet in this matter. It will definitely change the face of electronic marketing, but that is not necessarily bad news; we will continue to think about how these changes can bring benefit and profit to our clients.