Canada’s NEW Anti-Spam Legislation – Effective July 1, 2014
There have been many attempts to ban, prevent, minimize and even take legal action against spam and those sending it with much failure over the years. Unfortunately the majority of spam emails we receive on a daily basis is simply untraceable as is often sent out through a fake email account in hopes to get the recipients to click on a link.
In order to help protect users and companies, the Canadian radio-television and telecommunications commission (CRTC) will be implementing the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) as of July 1, 2014 to help fight spam and other junk emails so that businesses can continue to communicate with existing and new customers while adhering to a set of guidelines to ensure email communication is legitimate, traceable and manageable.
This legislation applies to any emails being sent out for marketing, business-building, social or any other indirect or impersonal purposes. Emails sent out for direct communication (for example sending an email to an existing vendor or client/customer does not apply).
There are 3 general requirements that will be imposed on people/companies sending out email communications (or Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM) as identified by the CRTC) and they are as follows:
- Consent: If you will be sending out an email (CEM) you must have received consent from the user to send out emails or to add the user to your mailing list. Most newer newsletter systems such as Constant Contact and MailChimp record the acceptance by the user to be added to their newsletter list. This consent can also be done through a print or online registration form, clearly identifying that the user’s email will be added to your email newsletter list. Often a check box asking the user to accept this is enough to receive their consent.
- Company/Personal Identification: Within your email communication, you must have information identifying your company such as your company name, phone number, address, internet address, email address and/or any other information directly identifying the company or person sending out this email. Quite often, the simplest way of achieving this is by updating your email signature to include as much information as possible to allow a user to identify who the sender of the email is.
- Unsubscribe Feature: Within your email communication, you must also have a feature to allow the user to quickly and easily unsubscribe from the newsletter. As mentioned above, most newsletter services include an “unsubscribe” link within their emails. If you do not have this feature, you must provide details on how to unsubscribe. (Fore example stating the user can reply with “remove” in the subject line”.
JUNE 26th UPDATE:
We’ve received a lot of questions about express or implied consent. Meaning how you actually received consent from a person or company. CRTC does a great job explaining the difference between express and implied consent. You can read about it by clicking here.
The other topic I would like to touch is about “assuming” people/companies want to remain part of your newsletter. Using any variation of the phrase “If we don’t hear from you, we’ll assume/accept you want to remain part of our newsletter” is against the CASL as indicated on the legislative bulletin:
“The manner in which you request express consent cannot presume consent on the part of the end-user. Silence or inaction on the part of the end-user also cannot be construed as providing express consent. For example, a pre-checked box cannot be used, as it assumes consent.”