The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, CASL for short, went into effect on July 1, 2014. For those who are thirsting for more of the legal framework to ensure your business is protected we recommend consulting an attorney.
This law applies to those sending CEM (commercial electronic messages) to anyone in Canada and/or anyone opening email in Canada, even if you are a U.S. based business or organization. Here are six major points that every sender needs to be mindful of when sending email to Canadian residents and businesses:
- Consent (online mailing list opt-in, direct sign up sheet at an event) or Implied Consent* (a business relationship, customer who purchases online, professional organization members).
- As the sender, it’s your responsibility to keep a record of how and when you obtained consent from theaddresses you mail to.
- The use of a defaulted, pre-checked box on a website for the purposes of collecting addresses isnotCASL compliant. The choice to join a mailing list is up to the individual.
- Express Consent doesn’t expire and is considered valid unless/until the address holder opts out.
- As the sender, you must have consent from your recipients to mail to them. This can be either Express
- Implied consent expires after 2 years, so it would be wise to keep an accurate record of consent dates.
- All transactional email must containan opt-out link.
Senders will have an 18-month “grace period” duringwhich they can send to addresses on their mailing lists, which would fall under “Implied Consent”. Those addresses can become “Express Consent”if they join the sender’s mailing list via some type of online subscription process. If the address doesn’t opt in within the 18 months, the sender must stop sending to that address and retire it from their list.
If, within the 18 month grace period, the sender sells a product or service to someone already on their list the opt in clock will restart to for that particular address within that particular list.
Please note that CASL does include a private right of action provision. This means that individual recipients can sue vendors for violations. Again, if you have specific legal questions we recommend escalating to a legal professional. To learn more about all things CASL, please check out a few insightful links below.