The Canadian Minister of Industry the Honourable James Moore recently announced Canada’s Anti-SPAM Law (CASL) will come into force on July 1st, 2014. The moment we’ve been waiting a little over 3 years to come, has come.
Tony Clement, President of the Treasury Board of Canada has approved Industry Canada’s regulations in their finalized form. These are set to be published in The Canada Gazette tomorrow (Dec 18th, 2013).
“Canadians will now enjoy a online ecosystem protected by CASL,” says Neil Schwartzman, Executive Director of CAUCE.
What does this mean?
It means if you have any Canadians on your list, you have a little over 6 months to make sure you comply with this new law. If you do not have express consent for the contacts on your list, you need to put a plan in place to get it.
How will this impact me?
If you are sending commercial electronic messages (CEMs) to anyone in Canada, you need to make sure you have consent to do so. You also need to be able to prove it.
How do I know if I have any Canadians on my list?
If you own or operate a business in Canada, the answer is most certainly yes. The country of origin of your customers is valuable data to have and now it could prevent you getting sued. If you don’t have it, you should think about sending a campaign to get it. Use Geolocation if necessary, but this may not always be reliable as people often travel temporarily to Canada on business.
What should I be doing now?
First and foremost, you need to be able to prove you either have Express or Implied consent for every single address on your list. If you don’t have records of express consent (such as: Date, Time, IP, Host…) or records you have a pre-existing business relationship (date of purchase, billing info…), you need to get it before July 1st 2014. If you have lost, or not presently keeping track of this information, if the majority of your list is implied opt-in through a pre-existing business transaction – you will need to seek express consent for anyone on your list before July 1, 2014.
Put a team in place to make sure you are CASL-compliant. Identify current practices for sending email and assess which ones will be covered under this new law.
Your mailing address should be included in all email communications.
Honour all opt-out requests, this includes those who reply asking to be removed from your list so be vigilant.
Do not use purchased lists. Do not use affiliate lists. Permission is not transferable. Subscribers want to receive email from those companies they have subscribed to, not an unknown third party. If anyone tries to sell you a list, these lists are not permission-based: they are spam lists.
Train employees on applicable CASL policies and procedures.
Finally, make a point of reviewing contracts with vendors and Email providers that send CEMs on your behalf to ensure they are contractually obligated to comply with CASL.
Who will be enforcing this new law?
- The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to issue administrative monetary penalties for violations of the new anti-spam law.
- The Competition Bureau to seek administrative monetary penalties or criminal sanctions under the Competition Act.
- The Office of the Privacy Commissioner to exercise new powers under an amended Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
After feedback from the industry, it has been decided that there will be a three-year delay for the provisions of the statute providing for a private right of action, which will not come into effect until July 1st, 2017.
What are the penalties for violating CASL?
Failure to meet the requirements of CASL may lead to the financial failure of your business. A single violation could be subject to an administrative penalty as high C$1-million for individuals and C$10-million for corporations.
Where can I get more information?
- The full version of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law can be found here.
- The CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) has a list of compliance and enforcement information.
- The Canadian Government has a website dedicated to CASL.
- CAUCE (Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email) is always a valuable resource.
- If you haven’t already, it might be a good idea to seek legal counsel for all the questions related to this new law.
Should I be worried?
Good question. When it all comes down to it, there is nothing new here. Any reputable marketer will have most (if not all) of this in place already. A lot of it is common sense. Permission to send to my list? wow, you’re kidding right? A working Unsubscribe link? OH my gosh! Postal address? Come on… this is pretty straightforward stuff. If you aren’t doing this now, you’ve probably got your hands full trying to get off various Blacklists, trying to figure out why your emails are in the Junk box… or desperately trying to find an Email Service Provider that will go near you with a 10′ pole.
As always, feel free to contact the CakeMail Delivery Team and also make sure to sign up to the CakeMail Blog for updates.
Bye for now,