Canada Unveils Anti-Spam Legislation

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has finalized the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which took effect on July 1, and now all commercial electronic messages (CEMs) sent within Canada and into Canada from foreign countries, including the U.S., must meet certain requirements. CEMs include e-mails, automated software updates and text messages sent by mobile phone. Non-compliance will incur significant penalties, including a maximum of $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses.

All senders of CEMs to Canada must have expressed or implied consent. Under expressed consent, the recipient has given permission, either in writing or orally, to a sender that they will accept CEMs. If express consent is obtained before July 1, 2014, that consent is valid until the recipient actively withdraws it. Implied consent applies where there is an existing relationship, which includes CEM transmission, between the sender and recipient prior to July 1, 2014. Senders have a 36-month transition period after July 1 to obtain express consent. Besides the consent mandate, all CEMs must also include a clear identification of the sender. Every CEM must include a way for the recipient to unsubscribe.

Industry companies in Canada have been working to meet the requirements. “We’ll continue to connect with our customers via e-mail, as long as they want to receive our messages,” said Jennifer Roney, marketing manager for Accolade Promotion Group (asi/102905). “The legislation will impact how we set up our online platforms, both our website and CRM, and how we run our national promotional campaigns. We’ll make sure we’re giving customers good reason to opt in, and we’ll ensure any CEMs provide value.”

Danny Braunstein, VP of sales and business development at Talbot Promo (asi/341500), says his company is taking CASL seriously. “It’s been time-consuming getting up to speed on the new legislation and educating our team,” he said. “The unknown is how it will affect us from a prospecting perspective.”