“The Canadians are coming! The Canadians are coming!”
Compliance is about to get a lot stricter for email marketers worldwide, as Canada’s law is ready to be implemented July 1, 2014. Canada’s not dinking around with this law. It’s stricter than the U.S. version and covers much more than just email. Marketers, take note.
What does CASL mean for you?
Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation (CASL) has been a long time coming. (We first wrote about it 3 years ago.) But it didn’t get any softer during that time. This law will require a diligence on the part of marketers that the U.S. law doesn’t come close to, and it covers text messaging too.
You can see this legislation has a broader reach just by reading the definition of the law. CASL is defined as:
An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act (S.C. 2010, c. 23)
Who is affected by CASL? Very likely your business…and a whole host of people and businesses you wouldn’t have suspected. The new law will affect any person, business and organization that does any of the following within the Canadian borders, no matter where they themselves might be located:
Specifically, CASL will prohibit:
- Sending commercial electronic messages without the recipient’s permission. This includes messages to email addresses and social networking accounts, as well as text messages sent to a cell phone.
- Altering transmission data in an email so that the message is delivered to a different destination without the consent of the sender.
- Installing computer programs without the express consent of the owner of the computer system or its agent, such as an employee.
- Using of false or misleading representations online in the promotion of products or services.
- Collecting personal information by accessing a computer system in violation of federal law.
- Collecting email addresses without permission (address harvesting).
How to learn more about CASL
FightSpam.gc.ca is the official website for all CASL information. There, you can dig deeper into the law and you can sign up for updates, so you’ll know the latest about the regulations as the start date draws near. (As a business manager or consumer, you can also take a quick quiz testing your knowledge of Spam prevention.)
However, the page you’ll likely be most interested in is the CASL Fast Facts page that sums up the legalese so you’ll know how the law applies to you. There’s also a helpful FAQ.
Tips for complying with the new CASL
Make sure you’re familiar with the law by using the resources we’ve linked to above. In addition, look for advice on being compliant. Our colleagues at Bluehornet (one of our email marketing vendors and partners) wrote this helpful article on Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation with tips on what you can do now to be sure you’re compliant before the law goes into effect next year. The EEC also has a good article on CASL here.
Plus you can always call on the email experts at ClickMail for help with compliance or any other email marketing issue.
And on a lighter note…
Complying with governmental regulations can be trying and a bit stressful. To lighten the mood just a tad as you gear up to comply with Canada’s strict legislation, we offer a clip from “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” in which the coming of the Canadians is announced in one of the show’s most famous scenes. Enjoy! And don’t worry. Your compliance will be worth the effort. It makes your email more effective in the long run, with fewer spammers cluttering up inboxes and giving email a bad name.