Quality is king: How Canada is taking a stand against spam

We’ve been fielding questions left and right about the impact CASL is going to have regarding doing business online. Essentially, anyone doing business in Canada, or with a business in Canada will be affected.

CASL rolled out legislation at the beginning of the year. This legislation brought out one of the toughest anti-spam laws of its kind. Spreading across any individual or organization that texts, emails, or communicates electronically. Electronic data transmission effects everything. Beyond electronic commercial messages this new act effects anyone who works with the installation of computer programs, and the alteration of computer data.

Inside, we’ll answer some of our most common questions we’ve received, as well as give you a series of steps you can take to ensure you stand on the right side of the spam act.

What Is CASL?

CASL is Canada’s anti-spam legislation. Most of the information available online is very confusing and riddled with technical jargon. Luckily, we’re here to break it down for you.

The main purpose of this legislation is to inhibit spamming, hacking, malware and spyware, fraud, harvesting, and privacy invasions. One of the biggest reasons this law has an effect is because it transcends country lines. If you send email from Canada, or email people in Canada then you fall under its legislation.

The biggest, most important elements of the legislation have to do with consent. Put simply, you need consent from the receiving party before you send an email. Of course, there are some exemptions to the rule, which we’ll go into below.

Are there any CASL exemptions?

Just like any piece of legislation, there are certain exemptions that might make your life easier. Or, at least reduce your fear of doing something against the law. The entire list spans multiple points, but the forms of communication you’re allowed to indulge in are below.

  • Email between your family or personal relationships are completely okay.
  • Employees emailing other companies that have a prior business relationship.
  • Response to a complaint, question, or general request.
  • A request for more information about your company.
  • Emails that are transactionally based, which also contain no marketing language.
  • Charities who are messaging someone who has made a donation within the past 18 months.

That being said, you’ll want to build the proper foundation to ensure you’re complying with this unique legislation.

  1. Consent is key
    Everyone who’s on your email list needs to be updated with the current happenings. It’s a good idea to contact your email list before enforcement becomes regular. The deadline of July 2014 is fast approaching. Once this deadline passes you’ll need to have consent from the receiving party before you send an electronic message.
  2. Understand what electronic messages your organization sends
    One of the key things we recommend is to conduct a digital audit. The goal of this is to get an overarching view of how your company actually sends electronic messages. You’ll want to take note of every single department and the digital messages they’ve been sending.
  3. Appoint a CASL leader
    Regardless, if you’re a small business or a company of one you’ll want to appoint a leader to keep up on the latest CASL updates. It’s probably best if you appoint one person to be the main point of contact. If this person is you, it’s smart to educate yourself about the latest regulations surrounding CASL. Since this is a relatively new legislation you’ll need to stay up on the updates as they occur. Besides the SplitMango team a great resource is Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation).
  4. Create a core CASL team
    If your company has a larger team across multiple departments you’ll want to create a dedicated team that will start to engage with each organization. This will be helpful if you have a very large company and need to coordinate across multiple departments.
  5. Keep tabs on your consent
    With CASL the proof of consent is upon the sender of the electronic message. This means you’ll need to track your electronic consent and how it was received. There are several options to do this. If you have an email service provider, such as, MailChimp, Aweber, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor or one of the many other service providers, they will help you keep tabs on the new contacts that have subscribed, with consent of course.
  6. Ensure you have up to date contact information
    Essentially, CASL helps to ensure you respond to all forms of electronic requests. This means you’ll need to have all of your contact information up to date. These six steps will help you manage the current and up and coming legislation.

This is a continually evolving legislation, so make sure you stay tuned for updates.

story written by David Miller