Understanding the New 2014 CASL Canada Anti-Spam Law and How it Affects Your Business
Canada is last of the G20 countries to legislate Anti-Spam, but the name in itself can be a bit confusing because it covers an unsolicited commercial electronic message (CEM) not just unwanted spam from malware or spyware. The new 2014 Canada Anti-Spam Law has taken the longest to develop, but is the most far reaching, with fines for breaches up to $1-million for individuals and up to $10-million for business violations. If you would like to read the legal details, here is a link to the main Government website http://fightspam.gc.ca/.
We are not legal experts, therefore this is only a guide as to what your Company needs to address to be CASL compliant. It is important not to panic but to be prepared. If you are using a third party service for your email blasts, make sure they are CASL compliant. Oh and by the way, it doesn’t just apply to Canadian companies. It applies to any company, worldwide, that sends an unsolicited commercial message to a Canadian recipient.
If you are unsure where you stand, we suggest that you seek a legal opinion to ensure you are within the law.
Three Stages of Legislation and Effective Dates
- CASL Takes Effect – July 1, 2014 and covers a Commercial Electronic Message (CEM)
- CASL Computer Program Provisions Take Effect – Jan. 15, 2015
- CASL Private Right of Action Takes Effect – July 1, 2017
Getting Ready for the CASL Anti-Spam Law July 1, 2014 Deadline
- Understanding that the legislation affects unsolicited commercial messages sent out from your website, email and text messaging. It also applies to messages sent through social media sites such as, but not limited to LinkedIn, Faceboo, Twitter etc.
- If you are a large company, with many people in different departments sending out commercial messages, you may need to put a task force together to ensure your Company is CASL compliant by July 1, 2014. Everyone in your Company needs to be on the same page.
- Put best practices in place for after July 1, 2014 to ensure you track on a database both your express and implied consents for CEMs.
What Should your Business do before the CASL July 1 2014 Implementation?
The following isn’t mandatory, but it gives you suggestions for avoiding any future non-compliance and will give you peace of mind that your list is clean and compliant with the new law.
Re-qualify your Mailing List for any Commercial Electronic Message
You can do this by simply sending out a specific email to your current list to confirm via ‘a click to confirm’ they want to remain on your mailing list for xxxxx. Be sure to include an unsubscribe button for those who want to unsubscribe. Your subscribers will thank you for asking and you will be CASL compliant.
We say this specifically as the best practice, as it removes all questions as to whether your current mailing list is comprised of people who have given either express or implied consent.
For more detailed information on CASL, here is a link to our blog