Canada’s New Anti-Spam Legislation

no spamYou have probably been hearing a lot of buzz about CASL, especially if you do business in Canada. CASL is the acronym for Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation coming into effect July 1, 2014 and here I’ve summarized what this new law means to business owners.

Basically, if you have always followed best practices when it comes to emailing your list, you are ok. However, if you have been attending networking events, collecting business cards, then adding those people to your mailing list and sending them your newsletter you are going to have to stop. Before arbitrarily emailing people, you need to have their consent AND be able to prove that you have their consent. And consent must be obtained through opting-in as opposed to opting-out. Meaning that the fact that people can simply click on the unsubscribe link in your emails to remove themselves from your mailing list is not enough.

So if you have added people to your mailing list without their consent, NOW is the time to address that. How? You will need to send out an email requesting their permission to be on your mailing list. I have seen a few come thru to me. You will basically want to follow up with contacts who didn’t express consent and ask them if they would like to receive correspondence from you in the future and provide a link for them to confirm their permission.

Once you have cleaned up your list and confirmed you have permission, here are the 3 simple rules to follow going forward, when sending CEM’s (Commercial Electronic Messages):

1. Consent – You must have expressed or implied consent to send a message.

Expressed Consent – You have asked and your contact has agreed to hear from you.

Implied Consent – A previous relationship with your contact exists and you can prove this relationship. Note that for contacts that you have their implied consent, you must have their expressed consent by July 2017.

2. Identification – You must clearly and simply identify yourself within your message.

Note that if you work from home you do not have to disclose your home address. It is a good idea as a business owner to have a P.O. Box for business purposes. It is a locked compartment where you can receive mail. You can rent one through your local UPS Store or Canada Post. Another option is a virtual office address within a virtual office space if you prefer a physical address over a P.O. Box.

3. Unsubscribe Mechanism – In every message you send, you must provide a way for recipients to unsubscribe from receiving messages in the future.

The financial penalties are severe. I’ve seen the fines listed from $1 to $10 million! It may be difficult to police and will likely come in the form of investigating complaints. So make sure you are following best practices and your mailing list is happy to hear from you because they have agreed to.

For more information on Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) visit http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home

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