What does this mean for your business? If you own a small business, work in marketing or communications, and work in Canada, you’re probably familiar with the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). What may have slipped your mind is that a new set of rules will take effect this July. That means you have just a few short months to get organized and ensure you, and your company, are in full compliance.
When CASL was first implemented, the legislation provided a transition period from July 1, 2014 – July 1, 2017. As the transition period quickly winds down, it’s vital that your organization has a process in place to ensure you do not violate these new rules.
What You Need to Know About the New CASL Rules in 2017
On July 1, 2017, the CASL sections that deal with the private right of action will come into force. This means that private individuals and organizations that are affected by a violation of CASL will be able to seek legal redress through civil actions.
During the transition period, you were permitted to continue to send messages to recipients from whom you have “implied consent,” unless they unsubscribe. This is about to change.
After the 2017 cut-off date, you may only send messages to recipients that have already opted in with express consent or whose implied consent is currently valid under CASL—that is, 24 months after a purchase or six months after an inquiry. This means that all messages (email, social media and text) must abide by the CASL rules, and you are required to have express consent.
In English? Today, if you find an email address on a website, you can send an email to that person. By publicly displaying their email address, they’ve given “implied consent.” After July 1, 2017, however, the rules change, and you can only contact someone if they’ve made a purchase from you within the last 2 years or if they’ve made an inquiry to you within the last 6 months.
What Does This Mean for Canadian Companies?
Companies need to ensure they have a process in place to evaluate their implied consent subscribers, and remove them prior to the July 1st, 2017 deadline.
“What happens if I don’t comply,” you ask? It could mean a hefty fine. According to FightSpam.ca, “Penalties for the most serious violations of the Act can go as high as $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses.”
How to Evaluate Implied Consent Subscribers
We’ve tried to clear up any grey areas so you can properly clean up your email lists. Follow these steps toward CASL compliance: Make sure you fully understand the difference between implied consent and express consent.
- Assess your subscriber list to determine who has given implied consent – this is a great opportunity to clean out your database and subscriber list, and assess who is active and who is dormant.
- Request express consent from your implied consent contacts – send a specific CASL opt-in email.
- Remove those who do not respond to your express consent request by July 1st.
- Swiftly process unsubscribe requests.
- Keep and maintain all records of express consent – the burden of proof of consent lies with the sender of the message.
- Regularly audit your subscription list to ensure you are compliant.
Quick Tip: For additional resources, check out the easy-to-digest CASL infographics that The Government of Canada has developed. Click the following images below, to view them in full-screen mode:
Marketing Automation Can Help
Reviewing and updating your list can be an arduous task, especially if you have a significant list of subscribers. Marketing automation is a viable solution for email marketing, subscriber list management, and to help companies build, manage and update contact lists.
Compliancy is serious, and GamePlan strongly endorses all privacy regulations. Contact us now to see how we can help you safely transition and comply with the new CASL rules.
Read our newest blog on CASL "Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) before and after July 1, 2017".
We are always here to keep you posted on updated rules and regulations that govern online marketing. However, this information is not meant to be interpreted as legal advice and if you have specific legal questions, we recommend that you contact your attorney.