If you or your organization is involved in email marketing, there is not a doubt in my mind that you have heard of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL).
There is a plethora of information about CASL online these days, especially seeing as the July 1st implementation of this bill is just around the corner. Most of this information is complicated and complex, and almost all of it is filled with legal terminolgy. That’s why most clients that call us say they’ve read it, but don’t understand it, and more importantly don’t know what to do next.
What’s going through your head right now?
- Does this mean new rules for the way I send out emails? YES!!
- Is there a time limit for consent? Is it 6 months, 12 months, 2 years, all the preceding? YES!!
- Should I care? YES!!
- Do I understand it? Well, hmm, Kind of, NOPE!
Let’s get you up to speed!
In short, CASL is Canada’s way of fighting and protecting against SPAM. It is intended to simply prohibit such things as Spamming, Hacking, Malware, Fraud, and eliminate Privacy concerns. If emails or any communication is being sent from Canada, or your organization is sending emails to anyone in Canada (even if you are located in another jurisdiction) CASL will affect you.
What are the main requirements?
The law is extensive (very extensive) but to summarize it, these are some the key requirements…note there are a lot of “MUST’s”
- Permission (opt-in) must be obtained before sending an email.
- The permission must be able to be proven with clear consent.
- No pre-checked boxes on forms. The consent must be an affirmative action. [ Make sure you take note of this for any forms you use!]
- No false or misleading subject lines or “from” names. The sender must be clearly defined.
- A working “unsubscribe” or “opt-out” mechanism must be made available and clearly identified.
- You are not allowed to confirm unsubscribes by sending an “Are you sure you want to unsubscribe?” email.
- Sender must include a valid postal mailing address (P.O boxes are fine) and one of the following: web address with contact form, email address or phone number.
- If you are sending “on behalf of” another organization, both organizations must be identified.
If you are a current Dialog Insight client – GREAT!! Then your email marketing activities are already abiding by many of these conditions.
What are the penalties for violating CASL?
Penalties for violations can range from $1 million for individuals, and upwards of $10 million for organizations!!
Those are BIG numbers!
That being said…it shows the importance of demonstrating due diligence, and complying with the Bill to do everything to obtain proper consent.
With only a few months to get prepared, it’s important that all marketers, including U.S. senders with Canadian records on their contact lists use this time wisely to review any email programs and create a plan that will ensure compliance come July 1st, 2014.
What’s your plan to prepare for CASL?
The first thing on your list should be to contact Dialog Insight for a review to ensure you have a good check-list and process in place for July 1st. Built right into our OPENFIELD online software is a simple process that ensures you are covered and compliant on many of these issues such as:
- CONSENT, CONSENT, and more CONSENT…. It’s all about consent! Dialog Insight wants to ensure you have a bulletproof method of capturing consent, by noting and recording all subscriptions, and IP addresses, document how the relationship began (purchased a product, signed up for a newsletter or blog etc), and if you are attaining oral or written consent, make sure this is something you can prove.
- The Double Double…. When someone Opts-in or signs up for a newsletter, send them a welcome email to verify their subscription. This will double your efforts, and ensure you are closing the loop on any spam complaints.
- Have a functioning unsubscribe link. That is all.
- Keep different communications separate. Not all emails are subject to the provisions of the act. Manage your promotional emails, separate from your administrative ones.
Don’t worry! Dialog Insight is here to support you. For additional information on CASL please visit our website or contact us : 647.497.5979.