Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

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How not to break the law – New Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

You may or may not know that there is a new SPAM law in Canada that takes effect July 1 2014.  Penalties for contravention can be up to $10 MILLION DOLLARS for businesses.

What does this mean for me and my business?

You should review your email practices.  You should not be sending Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM’s) to anyone who has not consented or implied consent does not exist.

What is consent?

Consent under the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation means the person consented in writing to receive CEM’s from you or your business. This can be done via sign up form.  You must keep a record of this for up to 3 years.  The onus is on the sender of the emails to prove the recipient gave consent.

What is implied consent?

Implied consent is a concept of where a reasonable person would conclude consent was given.  This it the type of stuff lawyers love, because “a reasonable person” is always subject to debate.  I recommend you seek legal advice to understand whether implied consent exists on your mailing list or not.  However, as a reasonable person, my opinion, which does NOT constitute legal advice, would be:

  • where a previous business relationship exists or recently existed where the client gave you their email address.
  • a client whom you met personally gave you their business card, obviously so you could contact them with a business proposition.
  • a person who has been on your mailing list for quite some time who has received numerous emails from you with unsubscribe options and choose not to do so.
  • a person or business who publicly publishes their email address for the purpose of people to contact them.
  • a personal relationship where you have exchanged emails in the past
  • a family relationship.

Exemptions from the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

  • Business communications like responding to inquiries, sending quotations, invoices, etc. pertaining to a business transaction.
  • Complete warranty, recall or safety information.
  • within an organization
  • between organizations that have a relationship
  • To satisfy a complaint
  • To satisfy a legal obligation.

What must be included in emails as of July 1, 2013

You must include the following in all CEM’s that are not exempt from CASL.

  • indentify who sent the message.
  • and who the message is sent of behalf of.
  • Provide contact information for both of the above.
  • An unsubscribe form for the recipient to remove themselves from the list.
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