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Are You Ready for Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation ?

by Justin Topliff

Post image for Are You Ready for Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation ?

Obtaining explicit consent for email marketing has never been more important.  Even if you have been following best practices around email compliance for years, CASL changes the game.  CASL affects any person and business sending email to Canadian citizens.

If you ever have or ever may send email to a Canadian citizen, you are going to want to follow this legislation very closely.

What is CASL?

On July 1, 2014 Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will be enacted and is being touted as one of the most aggressive anti-spam laws in the world.

The law is part of Canada’s attempt to deter the most damaging and deceptive forms of spam like identity theft, phishing, and spyware. Unlike CAN-SPAM, which accepts an opt-out model, CASL requires an opt-in model.  This means you must have explicit (not implied) permission from the recipient in order to send email marketing to anyone in Canada.

CASL legislation

Click here for more information on CASL, and read the full text of the law here.

 What could happen if I violate CASL?

The penalties are steep—up to $10 million per violation.  When the legislation goes live, the Canadian government can bring suit against violators.  Starting in 2017, CASL empowers Canadian citizens to personally take legal action against you and your business.

This legislation could open you and your business entities up to potential personal liabilities, ranging from civil damages to monetary penalties to criminal charges.

The best way to protect yourself is to obtain an affirmative double opt-in from your Canadian recipients. 

Although the law goes live on July 1st, senders have a three-year grace period to obtain explicit consent from their Canadian recipients.

Because it may be difficult to determine which contacts in your database are located in Canada, Infusionsoft encourages you to obtain a double opt-in from your entire database.  This is a best practice for email marketing and will ensure you are in total compliance with all Canadian and U.S. spam laws on this issue.

To download your free “Clean Your Contact List” campaign, visit the Infusionsoft Marketplace.

clean email contacts

Modify this campaign and use it to audit your existing list. To be CASL compliant, discontinue marketing to contacts who do not reconfirm interest in receiving your emails.

Being compliant moving forward

Moving forward, make sure you have a mailing list sign-up form on your website and send a double opt-in email with a confirmation link after they’ve signed up.  See this User Guide article on creating a confirmation email sequence for new users.

Also continue to familiarize yourself with list hygiene standards that will keep you mindful of your email contacts level of engagement.

What about implied consent?

While the law does allow for implied consent in certain instances (such as a customer purchasing a product from you), this consent expires after two years.  You should always strive to obtain explicit consent through a double opt-in regardless of the circumstances, because this explicit consent doesn’t expire.

This article is not legal advice.  We encourage you to research CASL fully and obtain legal counsel if you feel you may be impacted by CASL.

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