All about Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) which is effective since July 1st 2014 is very similar to CAN-SPAM with respect to it protecting consumers from receiving unwanted emails. However, it’s very specific regarding permission along with what it considers as opt-in. Regulation of CASL applies to all commercial electronic messages that are received in Canada irrespective of from where they are sent. Here’s what you need to know:

Understanding Consent under CASL

Consent expressed under CASL should be simple as well as clearly indicated. People who are seeking  to get expressed consent must make it clear to the recipient their full corporate names along with their contact number, web address and mailing address. Moreover, the consent form should include a statement which informs the receiver that they can withdraw consent anytime with the use of the contact information provided.

It is further recommended to entities that consumers indicate their consent by taking an affirmative action, which includes email address, phone number, as well as checking box next to consent language. Also, proof of consent must be maintained for minimum three years for avoiding liability under CASL.

Under CASL implied consent there are three circumstances, these include:

  1. There is a prior business relationship between the receiver and the sender and they have communicated in the last 2 years.
  2. When the receiver has published their electronic contact information but haven’t included a statement that they do not wish to receive CEMS.
  3. When receivers have disclosed their respective electronic contact information directly to the sender without indicating that they don’t wish to receive CEMs.

Due to implication of enforcement that can extend outside Canada, businesses that are conducting text message, email as well as social media marketing in all over America, they must consider CASL’s regulations.

Types of consent under CASL

  1. Expressed consent

A person intentionally chooses to use transparent language. This is consent’s gold standard which means a person who wants as well as intentionally requests to be added to your email list.

  1. Implied consent (Existing business relationship)

This includes interested prospects as well as customers. As stated by CRTC that in this way, “the recipient has made, or enquired about, a purchase or lease of goods, services, land or interest in land, a written contract or the acceptance of a business, investment or gaming opportunity from you. Keep records of how you obtained implied or expressed consent, since in both cases you have the onus to prove consent.” This has a time limit of two years.

  1. Implied consent (Existing non-business relationship)

This is for registered charities, candidates, or political parties and here the individual has given a donation, gift or has volunteered in the last 2 years. This applies to members of associations, clubs or voluntary organizations. This time-period of two years applies similarly as consent’s proof.

  1. Implied consent (Noticeably displayed or referred)

The following are known as B2B clause. If anyone

  • Has displayed his/her email publicy or otherwise
  • Didn’t include a statement that indicated non-solicitation
  • Currently is in a role that is important to the content (CEMs) that you propose to send them
  1. Personal relationship

This is for an individual who claims a personal relationship. The other person who is involved in this relationship knows this person’s real identity.

Here one must remember that irrespective of the type of consent that one is claiming he/she must proof that the person have consent under CASL’s stated measures.

Under CASL companies are also prohibited from doing the following acts:

  • Sending commercial electronic messages to any electronic address without permission. These include social networking accounts, emails, as well as text messages.
  • Altering data transmission to an electronic message during a commercial activity resulting the message to be delivered to a different destination without expressing your consent.
  • Installing computer programs during commercial activity without expressing owner’s or user’s consent.
  • Promoting services or products online with the use of false or misleading representation.

 Government agencies tasked with enforcement of CASL

  • The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunication Commission for issuing administrative monetary penalties for violating anti-span law.
  • The Competition Bureau for seeking administrative monetary penalties under Competition Act.
  • Privacy Commissioner’s office to use power under Electronic Documents as well as Personal Information Protection Act.

Till June 7, 2017 sections those who deal with private right of this action have been suspended.

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