What you need to know about the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

(The thoughts and ideas included in this article are based on my own personal interpretation of CASL and are not intended to provide advice. Discussion is encouraged on these ideas.)

The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL or Bill c-28) will come into force on July 1, canada-anti-spam12014.  This new law has wide ranging implications for anyone who sends emails (or any form of electronic messages) for commercial purposes.

First of all this law applies to everyone and anyone in business these days.  This legislation will not only affect email marketers or spammers.  This law affects sales people, customer support, marketing or any individual sending a commercial electronic message (CEM).

The key to this whole legislation is about consent – did the person you are sending a message to electronically give you their consent? The ironic thing is that this law only deals with electronic messages, you can still phone anyone or send them as many postal messages as you like.

In comparison – the USA’s CanSpam law deals more with the Opt-Out provisions.  Canada took the hard line around the Opt-In provisions.

Consent is divided up into two types; expressed consent and implied consent.  Expressed consent means that you have a record of them stating that you can send them commercial electronic messages.  Implied consent is a little more confusing.  Implied consent has a number of categories such as clients, people who you have their business card, people who have listed their email on the internet, and even people who when this law came into force (July 1, 2014) you had already obtained consent previously.  For more on consent see this informative article > http://www.zedpromarketing.com/js-ramblings/consent-mean-according-canadian-anti-spam-law/

There are a few exemptions to the stipulation that you need consent – but they are pretty slim. These include any individual you are currently in the midst of an on-going transaction, warranty information, and your mom (well your dad and siblings too – but not cousins!)

When obtaining expressed consent CASL describes in detail what needs to be communicated.  Your information – or the information of whom ever you are obtaining consent for (if you are acting as an agent for a business or organization) and how to contact them. The type of commercial information you will be sending out.  When an individual gives you consent – they must take an active part in the process (check a box, fill in email) as well this consent must not be tied to any other business arrangement.

Once you have consent and are sending CEM’s out you must include your postal address, who is sending them out as well as an unsubscribe mechanism.  This is similar to the USA’s CanSpam legislation.

There are severe penalties for not abiding by this legislation. Individuals can be fined up to one million dollars and organizations can be fined up to ten million dollars.  The Canadian government has already hired and is training enforcement officers to regulate this law.

Private right of action will be available to anyone who feels they have been harmed by a CEM sent without the proper consent starting in 2017.  Liability could include the amount of loss (time, money, expenses incurred) as well as a violation fee up to $200 per item.  This could be a substantial amount when looking at class action law suits against a host of violators.

The CASL will impact all business in Canada in some way. Higher cost of business due to tracking consent as well as tracking emails and other CEM’s. Informing and training staff at all levels. Due diligence when creating email campaigns.  Take action now – before it comes into effect – to be sure you are ready when it is too late.

Preparing for Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation – CASL

(The thoughts and ideas included in this article are based on my own personal interpretation of CASL and are not intended to provide advice. Discussion is encouraged on these ideas.)

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) takes effect in less than four months. That is very email-marketinglittle time to prepare for this very important legislation.

CASL will affect every business in Canada.  If you send an email – you had better know the implications of the Canadian Anti-Spam Laws.

CASL not only affects email – it involves all Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM). This includes text messages and instant messenger messages in various formats.

If you currently send out any messages relating to your business then you need to start by evaluating every contact in your system.  You need to determine if you have consent to send them business related messages. CEM’s cannot be sent after July 1, 2014 to any one if you do not have consent (either implied or expressed consent) unless they are exempt – and the exemption list is very small.

Existing clients get what is called implied consent – but only for two years from the date of the last transaction.

Existing prospects are exempt for three years under the expressed consent – but only if you have documented records that they initially consented to receive your commercial messages.

Very few organizations have good records for their past clients and prospects.  Very few email systems recorded the correct data that will convert into expressed consent in the new system.

So in the next four months it is imperative that you attempt to get expressed consent from everyone that you want to continue building a sales relationship with.

You should start communicating right away – re-building the relationship you have had in the past, discussing with them the value of your messages.

Then you should be asking them to give you expressed consent in order to continue receiving your high quality messages.

Two factors are vital in this process. The quality of the messages you send them, and the relationship you are building with them.

No longer can you send offer after offer to your list. You need to increase the quality of information and also use language that builds the relationship. Find ways to increase engagement, get feedback, build trust.

Then you can ask for expressed consent in the correct manner according to the CASL guidelines.

Start today – as you only have four months until the new CASL regulations take effect.

What does Consent mean according to the Canadian Anti-Spam Law

(The thoughts and ideas included in this article are based on my own personal interpretation of CASL and are not intended to provide advice. Discussion is encouraged on these ideas.)

The CASL (Canadian Anti-Spam Law) comes into effect July 1, 2014.  One key aspect of this law is that you cannot send email or any other commercial electronic message (text, social media message) without consent to do so.

expressed consent
They have also stipulated that sending a message to ask for consent is against
the rules.

So what is consent and how does one get it correctly.

There are two forms of consent: implied consent and expressed consent.

Expressed consent means that you have their full permission to send them any information.  When getting expressed consent you must clearly state what type of information you are going to be sending and then stick with that.  Therefore you cannot state you will send them industry news, and then send them advertisements and offers. You must be very clear on what will be sent.Implied consent occurs when you are already engaged in a business activity with an individual.  This mean actual transaction – not just sales activity. So clients qualify for implied consent, prospects do not.

Expressed consent must also clearly state who they are giving consent to. It must have the names of the business or individual to whom consent the individual is giving expressed consent and must also have their contact information.

You must store this information and be able to produce when you obtained expressed consent and the factors relating to the expressed consent (business or people who will be sending out information and the type of information).

Implied consent is also said to be given in two unique circumstances. First if you obtain that email address (or other form of connection) directly from the person and they have not stated they do not wish to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages.  This is often called the business card exemption.

Second is when the electronic address (email) is published on a public website, and the commercial electronic message sent to that person is relevant to their business, and role within that business.

What about existing email distribution lists – those contacts you have before the Canadian Anti-Spam Law comes into effect on July 1, 2015.

If you have obtained expressed consent – they have actually taken an action to consent to what you are sending – then you can continue to send commercial electronic messages to them. But you must take action to correctly obtain express consent according the requirements in the CASL legislation.

If your existing list of prospects and contacts have not expressed consent in some way to you – you cannot send them any commercial electronic messages (including asking for expressed consent) after July 1, 2014.

Email as a Sales Tool will change with the new Anti-Spam Law

(The thoughts and ideas included in this article are based on my own personal interpretation of CASL and are not intended to provide advice. Discussion is encouraged on these ideas.)

emailThe new Canadian Anti-Spam Law has definitely changed the way any organization in Canada can approach using email not only as a marketing tool – but even a communication tool in the sales process.

Take for instance this scenario:

A sales person meets a new prospect at a trade show on July 15, 2014.  For this example let us say this is related to financial services.  They have a good discussion about some various options and products. The individual is genuinely interested and asks the sales person to send him the product related information that they were discussing.

The sales person heads back to the office and the next day sends a PDF via email containing the product information.

The prospect gets the email and replies thanks and that he will look it over. The sales person continues the conversation either via email or even via a return call – but the prospect states that they are not going to do anything until RRSP time in February or March.

A month later the sales person sends another email (either personal or possibly a newsletter) to the prospect. The client replies thanks for the email.

The sales person, diligently working on building the relationship sends out an invite in November to a Christmas party. Again the prospect declines. Another email goes out to the new prospect in December wishing them a Merry Christmas – to which the prospect replies back with a return Merry Christmas – maybe even a few words about their plans over the holidays.

Now February rolls around and the sales person sees in the CRM notes that the client may be interested in the product that he sent out information back in July. So on February 15 he sends an email including the product information.

BANG – the sales person has just fired the Spam Gun! Six months have passed and now that original request for product information is over.   This sales person may be liable for fines up to a million dollars. And the firm that employs him may be fined a whopping TEN MILLION DOLLARS.  As well – after 2017 – there may be cause for a class action law suit against them.

The CASL is definitely going to change how not only marketing – but sales will be done here in Canada.

The above is only one scenario related to the effect of CASL on using email as a sales tool.

Are you ready for this new law? Is your firm ready? It comes into effect July 1, 2014.