Everything You Need to Know about CASL, Canada’s Anti-Spam Law
On the 1st of July, 2017, Canada’s Anti-Spam Law, the law that businesses love to hate, takes effect. Since it was passed in late 2013, there were concerns about how regulation would affect commercial email, banning everything from large-scale marketing efforts to the mom and pop stores trying to engage their audiences.
Although some businesses have accustomed to the tougher privacy standards, most are still unsure how this regulation will affect them. There are numerous underlying details you need to take into account to ensure you comply with the new rules. That’s why we’ve put together this list of top CASL facts so that you’re not caught off guard.
What Is CASL and its Stages?
CASL is the new anti-spam law that will apply to any business that carries out commercial activities and sends out electronic messages (such as emails or texts) to its customers.
Even, if your business is not based in Canada, but you are doing business with customers that reside there, then CASL applies to you, as well. In fact, any commercial activities in which one of the parties is based in Canada are subject to this new law. That means you will have to make sure you have the consent of your recipients before sending out any electronic messages. However, if your messages are just routed through Canada, you won’t have to worry about dealing with the new CASL.
This transition will be the third and final phase of the CASL implementation that started on July 1, 2014, when businesses were first required to inventory their electronic marketing practices and implement whatever changes they needed to make to align with the CASL. What these new regulations are trying to do is clarify all the different types of commercial electronic messages (CEMs), the exemptions from this law, and other guidelines for consent.
What are CEMs?
CEMs, or commercial electronic messages, refer to any message you send to your recipients in an attempt to convince them to develop a commercial activity with your business. That means any email that includes coupons, sales, barter offers or any other type of promotional content is a CEM.
Informative or courtesy messages, on the other hand, are clear of the CEM label, and so are emails that simply contain logos or hyperlinks as a part of the email signature. The important thing is to be careful with the nature of your message’s content and the hyperlinks you include.
What Is Consent and How Do You Get It?
One of the CASL facts that is confusing businesses is consent. Organizations need to have express consent from their recipients before sending any commercial electronic messages.
There are two types of consent: implied and express.
Express consent means that a person has agreed, usually in writing, to receive commercial electronic messages from you.
Whenever you request consent, you will have to provide your recipients with a few set pieces of information, such as:
- The business’s or organization’s name;
- The business’s contact information, such as email address, phone number or any other piece of information that can help recipients find out more, if they need to;
- An identification of the person on behalf of whom you are seeking consent;
- An identification of any third-party or affiliate your organization uses to obtain consent;
- A clear and free of charge mechanism your recipients can use to unsubscribe at any time;
- The possibility to opt out of any future types of communications that either you or your third-party partners send;
If you already have an existing business or non-business relationship with the recipient, the consent can be implied. Also, if the recipient publicly publishes contact information or if he or she discloses their contact information without specifying they don’t wish to receive any commercial electronic messages, then consent is also implied.
What Are the CASL Exemptions?
Any CEMs sent out between family, friends, and organizations with an already existing relationship or in response to complaints, inquiries, requests or legal obligations are exempt from CASLs requirements.
In a world where malware and ransomware attacks are becoming more and more common, the implementation of strict regulations is more than needed. With 1st of July rapidly approaching, you need to make sure that you get your CASL facts straight and understand what they imply and how it can affect your business.