The legislation for anti-spam began on July 1,2014. For a business owner, it is important to understand and be up to date on legislations. Changes in legislation can have a multitude of consequences for a business. For the violation of the Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), penalties for individuals can go up to $1 million and $10 million for the company. It is best to avoid these violations. CASL applies to nonprofit organizations unless the organization is a registered charity. CASL also does not apply when it is between persons within an organization or sent between organizations. Today, I will be discussing about the effects of the following changes made by CASL:
“To send a commercial electronic message to an electronic address, you need to have the recipient's consent, to identify yourself, to offer an unsubscribe mechanism and to be truthful.
● Consent: You must have a form of valid consent.
● How can I obtain express consent?
● What's the difference between express consent and implied consent?
● Identification: Clearly identify yourself and your organization. You must include your mailing address. You must also include a phone number for accessing an agent or a voice messaging system, an email address, or a web address for you or the person on whose behalf you are sending the message.
● Unsubscribe mechanism: Provide an unsubscribe mechanism that is functional for 60 days. See examples of acceptable unsubscribe mechanisms.
● Truth in advertising: Your messages must not be false or misleading. They must not have false or misleading sender information, subject matter information, URLs and/or metadata.” http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home
Consent is the first requirement that needs to be obtained before a business is allowed to send commercial electronic messages to the recipient. This can only obtained by implied or expressed consent.
Identification is the second requirement needed. The reason behind identification is for the recipient to be fully aware who is sending the email.
If it is not practicable to include all the information to identify the business, the business is allowed to hyperlink to a webpage that contains this information. A business operating from home does not have to disclose their home address for the identification requirement; however, a valid mailing address that the business can be contacted is required in this case. In the case of sending messages on behalf of someone else including affiliates, all of the parties involved have to be identified. An exception to this case is in the event that the affiliate has no input on the content of the message, nor on the recipient list.
The final requirement for the sending of electronic promotion and advertisement is having an unsubscribe feature on the message. It can be easily implemented by having a checkbox, button, or a text reply for the message provider to stop sending messages to the recipient. It should be simple and quick for the recipient to choose to not receive any promotions.
Lastly, if you have further concerns that were not covered in this summary visit CASL’s FAQ page: http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/com500/faq500.htm
A final note, business owners that have collected numerous email addresses prior to this legislation is advised to send their contacts an email in compliance with the legislation to ask for continued correspondence. This is to avoid potential legal consequences.