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Direct Mail and Canada’s Anti SPAM Law “CASL”

I came across the article posted below on one of our suppliers newsletters. It deals with regulations that have taken effect as of July 1, 2014 as they relate to e-mail broadcasting. CASL will create a significant disruption towards electronic correspondence within Canada. This will in turn remind Marketers about the value of direct mail. It will re-enforce Direct mail as the most direct way to communicate with customers and prospects…without running the risk of a multi-million dollar fine.

Source of Article: “Flagship Software June/summer Newsletter 2014 Volume 7 number 6”

CASL is Coming July 1, 2014

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is intended to regulate commercial electronic messages (CEMs). CASL is intended to stop or at least significantly discourage spam as well as malicious code or spyware. It is designed to be very broad and covers.

e-mail as well as any other commercial message sent electronically. Fines are hefty with a maximum of $10 million per violation for an organization.

The first consideration for businesses is to determine whether or not you are sending CEMs.

The Act defines a CEM as an electronic message that:

a) Offers to purchase, sell, barter or lease a product, goods, a service, land or interest in or right in land;

b) Offers to provide a business, investment or gaming opportunity;

c) Advertises or promotes anything referred to in paragraph (a) or (b); or

d) Promotes a person, including the public image of a person, as being a person who does anything referred to in any of the paragraphs (a) to (c), or who intends to do so.

The message itself is not the only element that defines it as a CEM. The Act states that it also includes “the hyperlinks in the message to content on a website or other database, or the contact information contained in the message”.

The key element in CASL is the obtaining of consent. Consent can be either be implied or expressed but both types of consent require that the recipient provide the consent before a CEM is sent.

Expressed consent is always the preferred method and involves the recipient agreeing to receive the CEMs. If done through a form, electronic or otherwise, the recipient must check an opt-in box rather than an optout.

Implied consent is generally based on an existing business relationship or existing non-business relationship between the sender and receiver. Implied consent can also be obtained if the recipient provides their e-mail address without indicating they do not want to receive unsolicited commercial electronic messages. It is important to know that implied consent has a time limit. If there is an existing business relationship, there is a two year time limit that starts from the date of the last transaction or when a contract or subscription ends.

Proof of consent must be obtained before the CEM is sent and the marketer must retain this documentation. Proof might include business cards, consent recordings, web or paper forms, etc. All documentation should clearly show the date of the consent.

Unsubscribe links must be part of every CEM and they must remain valid for a period of 60 days. Any unsubscribe must be processed no later than 10 business days after the unsubscribe request is received.

CASL will affect every business that communicates electronically with customers and prospects in Canada. It is important that you know the requirements and adhere to them.

The following link will provide additional information on compliance with CASL.

http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/home

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