Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)- What you need to know

All business owners should now be aware of Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL). Currently effective as of July 1st, 2014, Canada’s new legislation requires business owners to request permission to send e-mail marketing messages to their clients. Continue to do so without their consent and you could be looking at major penalties of millions of dollars.

Legitimate complaints are turned over to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), which may investigate the situation to determine if the messages violate the policies set by the CASL. Small businesses are not excluded from these laws either: any commercial enterprise that does not comply with these guidelines will be subject to all major penalties.

Prior to delivering any e-mail marketing, it should be made clear that the recipient has consented to receive marketing information. You must receive recipient permission prior to sending them electronic marketing communications including e-mails, text messages and even social media. Businesses should clearly identify themselves in each message and the unsubscribe button should be visible on the page.

The new law forbids:

  • Any electronic marketing message sent electronically, including e-mail address, social media and text messages, without the consent of the recipient.
  • Webpage destination change resulting in the user being sent to a different destination without his or her consent.
  • Any use of false or misleading depictions to promote products or services
  • Collection of e-mail addresses without consent

To ensure you comply with these new standards, be sure you understand the difference between implied consent and expressed consent. Under implied consent, a previous relationship exists and it is not explicitly articulated. Expressed consent must include your identifying information, a defined purpose for communication and a mutual understanding of the business relationship.

Expressed consent is now the norm in Canada and businesses will have to make the adjustments to cater to these new requirements. Avoid any unnecessary legal battles or burdens by ensuring the relationship is clearly defined and acts in accordance with the new guidelines.

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