As many Canadians will know, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) takes effect on July 1, 2014. It’s important to know that primary purpose of CASL is to protect Canadians by deterring damaging and deceptive spam such as information phishing, scams of various kinds, impersonation of others, misleading content, unbelievable offers and the like.
CASL is not meant to stop general business communications, however it does directly impact how organizations send cold-call emails and commercial electronic messages (CEMs) with the intent to sell, market or obtain business from individuals with whom the company has not done business with or communicated in the past two years. When this is the case, the legislation requires companies to get what is called express consent so the CEMs can continue.
In our case, everyone on our e-newsletter or electronic holiday card list has either done business with McKim or has a personal relationship with one or more of our staff, and has been receiving our CEMs for some time. This relationship is known in the legislation as implied consent. It allows us and all Canadian companies and organizations to continue using CEMs to communicate with their audiences unchanged and with the understanding of an implied consent relationship over the next three years.
The legislation has built in this grace period to allow companies to undertake a proper and orderly transition to help them and their recipients work toward obtaining either express consent or opt out. Once the three-year period is over, anyone with whom a company or organization has not done business with in the previous two years, or with whom there is no documented implied consent or express consent given since July 1, 2014, must be removed from all CEM lists. Of course, anyone who opts-out must be removed from the list, and CASL specifies this must be performed within 10 days.
The following provides steps any company can take between now and July 1st to address CASL requirements on their CEMs. Ask for express consent prior to accepting any new subscriptions to our e-newsletter contact database. Recipients must be able to withdraw consent at any time by easily clicking unsubscribe at the bottom of CEMs or by contacting the sender directly. Information must be included at the bottom of all CEMs that explains that the sender has done business with the recipient or that there is someone within the company with whom there is a personal relationship with the recipient. Lastly, all the sender’s contact information must be displayed.
To summarize, here is a list of key factors for business/commercial communication CEMs as part of CASL:
1. Obtain opt-in / express consent prior to sending an CEM or rely on limited implied consent exceptions
2. Identify the sender, provide contact information to that sender and provide an unsubscribe mechanism
3. Provide the ability to opt-out either immediately from the email, or within 10 business days via direct contact
4. Provide content that is not misleading as to its intent and has a legitimate purpose.
Lastly, you may today give McKim express consent here. We will be following up with an express consent email soon.
Regardless if you sign up today or later, everyone who does so will be entered in a random draw for a chance to win an iPad!
The information presented above is not intended as legal advice, only as a general overview of the new legislation. If you need advice on the new legislation we recommend checking the CASL webpage.