Why You Should Care About Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

At Click Rain, we do online marketing for all sorts of clients, which means we have to stay up-to-date not only in our field of work, but also yours. We have a few clients that do business internationally, so when Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) went into effect July 1, 2014, we knew we had to inform our clients. If you’re a business that has customers, clients, or subscribers in Canada, we’re here to give you some important information about CASL.

What is the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)?

CASL helps protect Canadians from the effects of spam and threats to electronic commerce, while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace.

What does this have to do with our business?

CASL regulations apply to you if you are sending any type of “Commercial Electronic Message” (CEM) from or to Canadian computers or devices in Canada. A CEM message is one of the following:

  • Email
  • Instant Message
  • SMS Text Message

If the message promotes involvement in commercial activity, advertising, promoting a product or service to a person, it is counted as a commercial electronic message.

What do we need to do?

If your business does send commercial messages, follow these guidelines for every CEM you send:

  • Include business name and anyone else (etc.)
  • Include contact information for reaching you, including mailing address, phone number, etc.
  • You must include an unsubscribe button etc.

Are there any exemptions?

Rest easy, because this regulation doesn’t apply to messages sent to your own employees / co workers. There is an exemption for sending messages to other people within your own organization, and also to people at another organization where you have had direct, voluntary, two-way communication in the past.  If the message does not concern the activities of the organization, or if the organizations do not have a relationship, then the requirements of the legislation apply.

There is also an exemption for people who send messages to those they have a personal or family relationship with. So, if you’re sending an email to your cousins in Canada, you’re good!

I’m sending messages for more than one company, how does that work?

If your business is sending for more than one company, you must communicate appropriately with each other. Here are a few rules:

  • Yes, you are allowed to share email addresses with your other companies.
  • If you are sending emails from other companies, you will need to identify that you received consent from the company you received their address from.
  • The recipient must be able to withdraw their consent from any or all companies.
  • Each company is obligated to notify the other company of any unsubscribe requests they receive.

What happens if we violate the regulations under CASL?

Don’t freak out quite yet, there is a three-year transition period until July 1, 2017, during which you can take steps to ensure your list stays in compliance under the law.
If you do violate any regulations you are required to pay an administrative monetary penalty. The max amount per penalty for an individual is $1 million and up to $10 million for a business, hence why we thought it was important for you to know about this new regulation!

If you have any more questions about CASL, please give us a call at (605) 275-6010 or visit the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission website.