Preparing for the upcoming Canadian Anti-Spam Law

The countdown to July 1st, 2014 when the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) will go into effect continues, and it’s important to understand how your organization can prepare. For some organizations nothing will need to change, however for a very large number, practices ranging from the way they collect addresses to how they store data, needs to be updated.

So what exactly is CASL? The Canadian Anti-Spam Law essentially forbids the sending of electronic messages without consent, including messages sent to email addresses, social network accounts and mobile phones. Once in effect, violations of the law can result in extremely stiff penalties per offense (upwards of $10,000,000 for corporations), while the affected party can also take personal legal action against the offender.

In order to remain compliant, organizations must obtain consent to send email to newly acquired contacts. Several other steps should be taken including:

  • Your organization should clearly describe the purpose of obtaining consent
  • Assign an ID to the contact
  • Clearly identify yourself and anyone else on whose behalf the message is sent
  • Inform the individual they can unsubscribe from consent at any time
  • Ensure the consent is not obtained from “pre-selected” consent options
  • Retain evidence that consent was given

Keep in mind that even if you have been sending email to contacts in the past, it does not imply that you have consent to send electronic communications to them in the future. Individuals whom you have established “implied consent” with still need to need to provide opt-in consent, and your organization has 2 years from July 1st, 2014 to do so.

Although these regulations do not apply to all electronic messages sent to and from Canada, it is important to understand any and all of the commercial messages your organization sends and which contacts would fall into this category. In order to you do so, we’ve created a helpful CASL FAQ sheet and conducted an “ask the expert” Q&A webcast, however keep in mind these should not be considered legal advice and should be used for informational purposes only.

Any and all questions relating to CASL should be directed to your appropriate legal counsel, or by visiting CASL Website directly: http://fightspam.gc.ca.