It’s time to remind everyone of a little piece of legislation known as the Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL). This is not the first time we’ve mentioned CASL on our blog, and it definitely won’t be the last.
Because it’s important that everyone remains aware of its existence and the fact that it’s easy for businesses to make a CASL violation in their day-to-day operations.
Since we already tackled the “Why”, let’s move on to the “What?”
At its core, CASL prohibits companies from sending commercial electronic messages (“CEM”) without your consent, including through text messages, email, and social media platforms. It also prevents companies from installing software on your electronic devices without your consent; using false or misleading representations to promote products and services online; and collecting and using email (and other electronic) addresses without permission.
There are three key requirements for sending a CEM to an electronic address that must be met to be CASL compliant.
You need: (1) consent, (2) identification information; and (3) an unsubscribe option.
When it comes to consent, CASL requires you to obtain express or implied consent. If you obtain express consent from the other party, your ability to transmit CEMs does not expire (provided you still give them the option to withdraw their consent at any time). One example of express consent is having the other party click to accept your terms. Implied consent, on the other hand expires and is only applicable in certain cases, such as when you have an existing business relationship with the other party.
To be CASL compliant in your communications, you must also clearly identify your organization and provide some contact information, such as an email address for inquiries.
Lastly is the “unsubscribe” option. These days you can’t go to the store or do any online shopping without being asked to provide your email address. Then, almost immediately, you start receiving emails from those same retailers’ offering promotions, sales, and sneak-peeks at new inventory.
Well, next time you see one of these emails, scroll to the bottom, and you should see in tiny writing (literally the “fine print”), an option to “unsubscribe.” Without this option to “unsubscribe” the email would not be CASL compliant, as you would not be able to withdraw your consent for these CEMs.
Now for the “When?” CASL has been in place for a few years, and the above is just the tip of the CASL iceberg. It’s time for you to get your business CASL compliant today.
The most serious violations of CASL can cost upwards of $1 million in penalties for individuals and $10 million for businesses.
And finally, the “How?” Reach out to us if you need help getting CASL compliant – it’ll cost you if you don’t!
Robin K. Mann, Associate Lawyer