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.