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Canada’s Anti-Spam Law CASL Means To Your Business

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law CASL Means to Your Business

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law CASL – What it Means to Your Business

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law CASL starts July 1, 2014. This means that any person or business that uses commercial electronic messages (CEMs), and from January 15, 2015, the act of installing apps or other software programs, will now be subject to this legislation. Not complying to Canada’s Anti-Spam Law CASL could mean fines of up to $1 million for individuals and up to $10 million for businesses. The private right of action takes effect July 1, 2017.

But, really, what does Canada’s Anti-Spam Law CASL and all of this mean? This is important news if you are a CEO, president, business owner, marketing or communications professional.

7 Key Questions and Answers about CASL

  1. What is Canada’s Anti-Spam Law CASL Legislation?
    Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is the watchdog organization that sets rules for the sending of commercial electronic messages (CEMs) and when installing computer programs. CASL also prohibits the unauthorized alteration of transmission data.
  1. What is the Easiest Way to Deal with CASL?
    a. Create a double opt-in process to obtain consent for your emails and social media channels
    b. Offer a clear unsubscribe option with your contact details in all emails
  2. Are Company Officers or Directors at Risk?
    Yes. Company officers and directors can also be held liable. Starting July 1, 2017, recipients of spam will have the power to litigate – either against individuals or companies not following this law.
  3. Is CASL Limited to Just Email Communications?
    No. CASL Anti-Spam Law also extends to Texts, Social Networking Messages and other Electronic Communications.Examples of How Canada’s Anti-Spam Law CASL Works – What You Can and Cannot Do
    a. You may post on your Facebook page.
    b. You may not use Facebook messaging to send a message.a. You may email a contact you met at an event about that event.
    b. You may not email a contact you met at an event about your products or services.
  4. Who is Exempt from Canada’s Anti-Spam Law CASL?
    a. Registered charities are exempted for CEMs sent to raise funds for the charity.
    b. Political parties and candidates, or people sending CEMs on their behalf are exempt only if the main purpose of email is to solicit contributions.
  1. What Else Do You Need to Know about Canada’s Anti-Smap Law CASL?
    If an individual expresses s/he does not want any commercial email messages from you, this applies to your entire company, not just your sales or marketing department.
  1. How will Your Electronic Message be Assessed?
    Before this law, an entire message would be assessed on whether it breaks the Canadian truth-in-advertising laws. Now, it gets even more interesting – elements of your message will be assessed individually. For example, the subject line will be assessed independently. If you have a special promotion, the solution suggested is to include a disclaimer (i.e. read the fine print for terms and conditions).

Do you need more answers to CASL? I remember I paid to attend a Canadian Marketing Association’s Lunch and Learn session a couple of years ago, where a lawyer presented an initial summary of how the CASL (PIPEDA, as the acronym was called at that time) would work. I have not discovered, since then, how CASL was formulated and whether professional marketers, business owners, or other communications specialists were further consulted (were we, as paid attendees to get informed, offering free advice to the presenting lawyer?). Alas, I digress.

There are a number of online resources available to help you prepare for compliance. Two examples include the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission website as well as The Canadian Chamber of Commerce website.

Will casting such a large net across the ocean of electronic communication deter the real spamming predators or will this legislation create a stronghold on businesses from growing? Time will tell. What do you think?


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Marketing strategist and founder of Infuse Five Infuse Five, based in Ottawa, Canada, helps businesses and associations, across North America, grow. Focus is on innovative marketing and communications strategies. Ottawa marketing customized to fit your specific business needs.

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