Most business owners have heard of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) but do you know how it will affect the way you contact your clients, contacts and new leads? CASL is the new anti-spam law that was passed in 2010 and is expected to be enforced sometime in 2014. This new legislation was designed to protect Canadian consumers from an abundance of spam electronic messages as well as protect them from unwanted installation of computer programs. While there are certainly benefits to this legislation, it has made the communication between marketers, business owners and their contacts tricky to navigate.
CASL will apply to all emails and texts that organizations send their clients, contacts and potential clients that have a commercial implication. Under this legislation, consent will have to be received before sending messages once this comes into effect. There will be a three year “grace period” after the legislation comes into effect during which consent to send electronic messages is implied when sending them to existing business or non-business contacts. Before this grace period is up, explicit written consent must be obtained in order to continue communication via electronic message. In the case of contacting people that you do not have an existing relationship with, you must get consent before the legislation takes effect because the grace period does not apply to these people. Emails of a marketing nature that are sent after consent is given must still have an opt-out/unsubscribe option visible in each communication.
The consequences for violating CASL once it comes into effect are substantial. Organizations could face serious penalties including criminal charges, civil charges, liability and fines up to $10 million for organizations and up to $5 million for individuals.
For more information, check out the Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation FAQ at: http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/h_00050.html.
Welch LLP Ottawa Office