CASL – 4 things you probably didn’t know about the new law

July 1, 2014 is going to be a big day here in Canada. It marks the introduction and enforcement of the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation otherwise known as CASL. I'm going to begin this post with the standard IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer) disclaimer, if you think you have a unique case and questions around how CASL will apply to your business then simply complete this simple form and we can connect you with a number of CASL specialists.

The Canadian Anti-Spam Law or CASL will:

  • affect every part of your business from sales to marketing and finance to operations.
  • require you to provide a "diligence system" that can track all consumer communications and histories.
  • fundamentally change the way you collect and communicate to your leads, contacts and customers.
  • force businesses to implement a process around the collection of consumer information.
  • be good for the consumer and be good for business. 

We'll be launching our ongoing CASL blog series and resource centre throughout the month of June in anticipation of CASL implementation on July 1, 2014. For the record all of us here at Honeypot Marketing are heartily in favour of CASL, these best practices will make our marketing efforts more effective. 

Gone will be the days of the "email blast" or the "I've got a list here in an excel spreadsheet". We say good riddance to that! 

What I do want to review beyond the basics of CASL are 4 things you probably did not know about the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation.

Due Diligence Defense

If you can demonstrate that best practices are in place for your email policies, this will likely be a reasonable defense against CASL claims. We strongly recommend a platform such as Hubspot, ActOn or Mailchimp that will allow you to access consumer data in a central and easily accessible location.

Identify Sender - Agencies Beware

CASL requires the sender’s name and postal address. If the message is sent on behalf of another person, that person must be identified as well, along with a statement indicating which is which.

CASL Applies to Transactional Email

Transactional emails include confirmations, receipts, payment notifications and any system emails. If you're including a marketing or promotional message within these electronic communications then they fall under CASL regulations.

It's About More than Email

CASL is broad and covers more than email. Thus, no bulk distinction exists in the law—even one-to-one marketing messaging must comply.

Unsubscribes Need to Happen Immediately

Most marketers adhere to the US version of spam laws known as CAN-SPAM, which has a 10-day grace period of processing an unsubscribe. Those days are gone, subscriptions must be handled immediately, without a sign-in required and must occur in a simple process.

Our advice: separate the unsubscribe process from a user profile centre on your website.

In summary, CASL is very real and very real fines will be handed down after July 1. At the end of the day give clear notice and describe what you’re doing. Set proper
expectations, and you’re likely going to be okay under CASL.

What Happens If...

“Oops. We accidentally sent an unsolicited message to a Canadian subscriber.”

Relax. Take a deep breath. CRTC and Competition Bureau have a process called an “undertaking.” Mistakes and errors occur.

When this happens, marketers can and should preemptively say, “We made a mistake and won’t do this again.”

Technical errors also occur, you heard of the SNAFU syndrome?

Flat fines may be applied to such situations. But, if you show good faith to not repeat them, you’ll be in good standing. Of course, we should all be careful about errors.

It's not all doom and gloom! Regulations commissions have also said that they have no interest in interfering with legitimate marketers.

Stay tuned, we've got much more on the CASL front including a targeted series of articles as it applies to every area of your business including CASL for:

  1. The Hospitality Industry.
  2. Sales Teams.
  3. Marketing Teams.
  4. Agencies.
  5. B2B Sales and Marketing.

Your best bet is to subscribe to our blog to keep informed about CASL, privacy and business in Canada.

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