On July 1st, 2014 Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation will be implemented nationwide. Not only does this mean that the security of Commercial Electronic Messages will be at an all-time-high, but also that a consumer can feel at ease when they receive any commercial electronic messages from a business. There is a common misconception that the “commercial activity” of an organization is limited to transactional emails, however this term encompasses both text messages and social media sent in connection with the firm as well.

Certain electronic violations such as: the sending of unsolicited commercial electronic messages, the unauthorized alteration of transmission data, and the installation of computer programs (spam, malware, spyware, etc.), place the security of consumers’ personal information at risk.  The Canadian government has decided that enough is enough, and beginning on July 1st exceptionally strict regulations will be placed on businesses that engage in commercial activity.

This regulation overhaul is not something that business owners should fear. By preparing today, the safety of your consumers and the credibility of your firm can only strengthen from this moment onwards.

Email Marketing of the Future:

I’m not sure there is anyone in this world that can testify to loving junk mail. The goal of the Canadian government is not to hinder business professionals from marketing to the masses, but instead, assure that every customer who receives a piece of marketing material gave consent to do so. There are 2, and only 2, new forms of consent an individual can give; they are described as follows:

Express Consent – the recipient gives clear permission to email them. A customer must be given the option to opt-in in order to receive promotional material; this can include signing up for a newsletter. If a firm automatically opts a consumer in, only giving them the option to opt-out, they have violated CASL.

Implied Consent – there is an existing business or non-business relationship between the sender and the recipient. In this case, a consumer has already entered a contract with the business. A firm then has the ability to send the customer marketing material for up to 2 years after the commencement of this contract. When the 2-year mark has lapsed, the business must once again gain consent. In the special case that a consumer has provided their personal information without specifying their consent, implied consent is valid for only 6 months.

What Are You Up Against?

There are serious consequences if convicted of a CASL violation.  Both individuals and organizations will face criminal charges if they mislead the sender or subject of a CEM.  Individuals can be fined up to $1 Million and corporations can be fined up to $10 Million PER VIOLATION! Every individual who utilizes CEM must educate themselves on legal commercial activity practices to avoid these rigid penalties.

Where Do You Go From Here?

By following these 6 simple steps developed by Demac Media, organizations and individuals can reduce their risk of engaging in a CASL violation.

  1. Review your opt-in process for all electronic communications – this includes all SMS, social media, and emails
  2. If there are any places you are collecting emails that are run by a 3rd party, that is still your responsibility, investigate the exact process
  3. Consult with your ESP and legal counsel about any compliance gaps and systemic changes that might need to be made
  4. Develop an implementation plan, which may require establishing a “do not email” list across your organization
  5. Obtain express opt-in consent from every name on every list.
  6. Choose someone to be your CASL compliance officer and ensure they stay up to date, because there are likely to be ongoing changes