Does the New CASL Law in Canada Affect Your Website?
It has been just over one month since CASL, the new Canada anti-spam law, regulating email and other commercial electronic marketing came into effect. These CASL regulations are having a huge impact on businesses around the world.
According to Canadian government’s official Fight Spam website,
“If you use electronic channels to promote or market your organization, products or services, Canada’s new anti-spam law may affect you.”
The new spam laws in Canada requires that for all Canadian email addresses in your marketing database after July 1, 2014 you are required to have documented proof of consent, whether it be implied or express. Canada is getting tough on spam and the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has made it clear that it is the advertiser’s duty to understand and comply with the law.
In the early days of Canada’s new anti-spam law everyone seemed shocked and scared of the stiff penalties for non-compliance. The Globe and Mail reports:
The penalties for each violation can be up to $1-million for an individual and up to $10-million for companies. The law will be enforced by three government agencies: the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), the office of the privacy commissioner, and the Competition Bureau. As of July 1, 2017, there will also be a private right of action, which means people can start taking legal action against anyone not following the rules. The big concern for businesses is the threat of class-action lawsuits.
This is not just a law directed at instant messaging or emails – if you use email, SMS, Social Media, and Instant Messaging or operate an e-commerce site, you need to understand the law too. In order to help you better understand CASL and what you need to do to be compliant we have compiled a number of reputable and resources.
1. CASL Explained
By CRTC – The CRTC staff provide a detailed overview of the law and its ramifications in this informative YouTube video.
2. Does CASL Apply to My Business?
By CRTC – This is an informative video that examines several business models and the effects of the new CASL law in each scenario.
3. The Big Three of CASL
By Fightspam.gc.ca – This infographic is worth printing and hanging up on your marketing department wall to help in compliance with the CASL.
4. The FAQs of CASL
By Fightspam.gc.ca – This is where you can access the most frequently asked questions about the new law and any other questions you come up with, including the difference between implied and express consent, how to prove you have consent, how to ensure full compliance and Canada anti spam law for businesses in the US (ie. how CASL applies to your business practices outside of Canada).
5. Express Consent and E-Commerce
By CRTC – One of the big changes that must be considered with your e-commerce forms is the Toggle Form. Your customers must physically opt in for the order or subscription to be valid and a pre-checked box that put the onus on the customer to opt out is no longer valid. Inaction on the part of the customer is now considered as a lack of consent.
6. The CEM Compliance Tree
By Lawson Lundell LLP – The law firm of Lawson Lundell LLP has developed a great flow chart (go to page 6) to track what is needed to stay in compliance with the law when sending a Commercial Electronic Message (CEM). Know how to answer questions such as does CASL apply, does the message comply with content requirements, how to know if the message is exempt from requirements and if consent can be implied.
7. UBC Compliance Check List
By The University of British Columbia (UBC) – UBC has put together this convenient checklist to help you stay or get back into compliance with the law.
8. 3 Steps to CASL Compliance
By Constant Contact – A valuable checklist from one of the leading email marketing sites in North America.
9. Anti-Spam Toolkit
By McCarthy Tetrault – A 42-page document that includes information about updating messaging systems, false or misleading statement, technical compliance as well as an initial compliance questionnaire, CASL preparedness checklist and commercial electronic message decision tree.
1st on the List has provided this information and links as a courtesy and is in no way representative of the opinions stated there in. This is not intended to be a full analysis of how CASL may apply to you. If you feel your site is not meeting acceptable standards we recommend contacting legal representation.