The cost of the new Canadian Anti Spam Legislation on Small Business is crippling

On July 1, 2014 Canada’s new Anti-Spam legislation (CASL) comes into effect.

I’m doing a lot of speaking to Small Businesses right now, getting them up to speed on what they need to do in order to comply with CASL. The business owners are first shocked, then frustrated by the number of things they have to do and finally resigned that many hours will now be spent complying with a law that has missed the mark of its’ intent.

The intent of CASL was to stop junk mail from arriving in your inbox as well as stop Mal Ware & Spy Ware from being installed on your computer.

What CASL is now doing is requiring you to obtain consent to send email, which is reasonable. It requires you to stop emailing someone who tells you to stop, this is also reasonable.

What gets challenging is you have to document all of the people who consented to receiving an email. So, a small retail store with a mailing list now has to find a way to get a customer at the register to agree to emails and then that consent has to be stored. If the customer changes their mind at any time, the name better get off the list.

The above example is the simplest example – one mailing list, one thing to track. There are many free mail services that can help you with this – it’s worth looking into.

The more complicated scenario is the slightly larger business, with multiple sales people who send emails. How do you track consent or lack of consent for each person?

This requires software. Software is not free. This requires people power to input the data. This takes away from the primary purpose of the business.

Starting July 1, 2017, individuals can sue at the rate of $ 200/email and that officers & directors are personally liable for those judgments is forcing small business to spend large sums to comply. Due diligence is a defence to these law suits: you have to have a system and do your best to follow it.

Listening to the feedback of the small businesses, this is expensive and time consuming legislation that will not solve the junk emails that originate out of Canada and will not stop the hackers from finding a way to install Spyware and Malware. The legislation will not accomplish its’ intent.

We need to let our MPs know – CASL is costing small business a lot of money for no good reason.

Inga B. Andriessen JD