As of July 1, 2014, CASL came into effect and is one of the world’s strictest anti-spam laws, and if you’re in Canada or send to Canadian residents, you need to comply. However, people are still confused about what is allowed, and what isn’t, so we have put together a list of the most frequently asked questions we get asked about CASL.
What does CASL stand for?
CASL stands for Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation.
What is CASL?
CASL is a new anti-spam law that will apply to all electronic messages (i.e. email, texts) organizations send in connection with a “commercial activity.” Its key feature requires Canadian and global organizations that send commercial electronic messages (CEMs) within, from or to Canada to receive consent from recipients before sending messages. CASL does not apply to CEMs that is simply routed through Canada.
What’s the definition of a “commercial electronic message” (CEM)?
A CEM is any electronic message that encourages participation in a commercial activity, such as an email that contains a coupon or tells customers about a promotion or sale. That said, a message that includes hyperlinks to a website or contains business-related information does not make it a CEM.
CEMs must be sent to an electronic address to be caught by CASL. Confirmations of successful unsubscribes, courtesy SMS sent to roaming customers, and publication of blog posts on micro-blogging and social media sites are out of scope.
What constitutes consent?
To send a CEM, organizations need express consent from recipients—either orally or in writing. Written consent can be electronic.
How can we get consent from our recipients?
When requesting consent, you must provide recipients with:
- The name of the person or organization seeking consent
- A mailing address and either a phone number, voice message system, email address or website where recipients can access an agent for more information
- A statement identifying the person on whose behalf consent is being sought
- The identity and contact information of any third-party or affiliate used to obtain consent
- A free unsubscribe mechanism that lets recipients electronically opt-out of communications
- The ability to opt-out of all types of communications sent by either your organization or a third-party partner
Can consent be implied?
Yes. Organizations don’t need express consent to send a CEM in the context of an existing business or non-business relationship, or if recipients conspicuously publish their electronic contact information or voluntarily disclose it without indicating they don’t want to receive communications.
What happens if we don’t comply with CASL?
Organizations that don’t comply risk serious penalties, including criminal charges, civil charges, personal liability for company officers and directors, and penalties up to $10 million.