GDPR is not the only issue! Handling Canada’s Anti-Spam Laws (CASL)

GDPR is not the only issue! Handling Canada’s Anti-Spam Laws (CASL)

Many of our marketing automation customers asked us how to deal with the new CASL rules. We wanted to share some valuable information about this, feel free to share:

What is CASL?

It’s Canada’s new anti-spam law generally prohibits sending any commercial electronic messages without the recipient’s consent (permission), including messages to email addresses, social networking accounts and text messages sent to cell phones.

What is the timeline?

The CASL was introduced in July 2014, as a new set of rules that protect Canadians from malicious spam, (with 3 years to comply) and it took full effect on July 1, 2017.

Who is affected by it?

The CASL will affect all businesses, including charities and non-profit organizations. Even if a business is located on the other side of the globe – it may still be subjected for a lawsuit!

What type of communication is prohibited?

CASL applies to emails, SMS (text), social media or instant messages, and any similar messages sent to electronic addresses. Note that the anti-spam law applies to “commercial electronic messages” only, and it does not include telephone calls/voicemails within that definition.

What about my customers?

Your current Canadian customers are not affected by the law, as long as you have previously provided your products or services to them and they haven’t opt-out.

Your new Canadian recipients of a commercial email (it’s an email related to an offer to sell some product or service) must explicitly say they want to receive your emails and you have to prove it if asked. They must be fully “opted-in” to send them any marketing content. That means the contact must have expressly agreed to receive emails about your products/services. You will need to have a record to back this up, that the contact actually requested to be contacted or otherwise checked a box agreeing to receive additional information. (i.e., if someone signed up at a trade show, you need to have records showing that this is how you received the opt-in).

What are the implications?

There are no automatic penalties, but the range of enforcement tools available are from warnings to penalties (up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses).

How will CASL change the way I use my marketing automation system?

You will have to Identify Canadian leads. It is recommended to use as many ways as possible: Country, Zipcode, Provinces, data provider check ext. And email to implicit or explicit consent ONLY. Opt-out/unsubscribe notices need to be prominently displayed, even where you have approval.

Do you have any recommendations?

It is highly recommended to document your mailing policy (process, responsibilities, training), adding a procedure of double opt-in for leads in Canada, use a dynamic consent box in all forms (opt-in box is shown if country=Canada), using no pre-toggled/pre-checked boxes, etc. and most important you should validate your database to clean and enrich it.

Ronen Wasserman