Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation

New Canadian Anti-Spam legislation (CASL) will take effect on July 1st of this year. It covers any electronic commercial message sent without consent from the recipient. This includes email as well as a variety of other electronic communication. The laws are intended to deter deceptive forms of spam from occurring.

So what does this mean for email marketers?

First, and most importantly, CASL requires you get permission from a subscriber before sending any kind of commercial communication via e-mail. If your email marketing plan follows best practices, this should not be a concern. There is a benefit to you as well. Receiving permission or an opt-in from a subscriber increases engagement and email success.

CASL also requires marketers to honor opt-out requests immediately. This differs from the US in that marketers are allowed 10 business days to process any unsubscribe requests. Using a platform that manages unsubscribe requests for you can ensure that subscriber status’ are updated in real time. If you are managing suppression files yourself, contact your email platform to see what options they have for automating this for you.

Additionally, senders should clearly identify themselves in a recognizable manner and ensure that products and/or services are not misleading. Again, this is a best practice and will only increase your subscriber engagement.

How will CASL be enforced?

Three federal agencies will be responsible for enforcement of these laws,. Violations will result in hefty fines.. The laws go into effect July 1, 2014 with a private right of action beginning July 1, 2017.

To avoid fines, make compliance with these laws part of all your email marketing initiatives and not just in emails sent to Canadian subscribers. These laws reflect email best practices and are meant to protect consumers everywhere.

For more information on the Canadian Anti-Spam legislation, visit, http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/h_00026.html. Consult your legal counsel for further interpretation of these laws.