The Canadian Government will be introducing a Comprehensive Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) next week that will likely affect your business.
If you currently send emails, text messages, and/or other commercial electronic messages as part of your marketing business activities, you may now be fined up to $200 per message sent.
That is correct... per message sent!
This legislation will take effect on July 1, 2014, and the fines can accumulate up to $10M for your business.
Canada is one of the last developed nations in the world to enact an anti-spam legislation, but the Government is making up for it by assembling some particularly strict laws and harsh punishments.
There is a list of exceptions, that do not require consent, such as:
Should you have express consent from your recipients to send them a message, your commercial electronic message must still include, clearly and prominently, the name and contact information of the sender, whether the message is being sent on behalf of another person, and the ability to unsubscribe without incurring any cost.
Express consent can be written or oral, and can be obtained electronically, through email, via a sign-up link on your website, by a check-box on a work order, or by verbal agreement between your company and the client. However, remember that if you attempt to send unsolicited requests for consent after July 1st, then you would technically be in violation of the new legislation.
It's important to keep in mind that there is a key difference between 'express consent' and 'implied consent'. Implied consent simply requires you to present the option to opt out. If they do not opt out, then it's implied that they want to opt in, without requiring the user to do anything. This is no longer going to be enough. What the new legislation requires is 'express consent', which means the user actually has to perform an action (visit a link, click a check box, send an email, etc).
For more information on steps you can take to ensure you are in the clear, check this article on How to Prepare for CASL.
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