CASL Compliance: What You Need to Know

It’s not too late to get compliant!

The three-year transition period for the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) ends on July 1, 2017; however,  there is one piece you don’t have to worry about (at least for now) — the Canadian government has suspended the private right of action which would have allowed individuals to sue anyone for sending spam. Earlier this month, the Canadian government announced:

Canadians deserve an effective law that protects them from spam and other electronic threats that lead to harassment, identity theft and fraud. At the same time, Canadian businesses, charities and non-profit groups should not have to bear the burden of unnecessary red tape and costs to comply with the legislation. 

The Government supports a balanced approach that protects the interests of consumers while eliminating any unintended consequences for organizations that have legitimate reasons for communicating electronically with Canadians. 

For that reason, the Government will ask a parliamentary committee to review the legislation, in keeping with the existing provisions of CASL.

So, what does this mean for you? No matter your location, if you send commercial electronic messages (email, text, or instant messages) to anyone with a Canadian address, you must still comply with CASL. Violations may result in steep fines from the government not to mention the potential damage to your firm’s reputation or your relationships with clients and contacts.

While many of you have likely taken the necessary steps to ensure compliance, there is still time for those of you who have not. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Visit the Canadian government’s site at http://fightspam.gc.ca to familiarize yourself with CASL and any recent updates.
  • Review your mailing lists. If you don’t have a record of consent, get it now!
  • Update your email templates to include:
    • Company name
    • Physical mailing address
    • Telephone number
    • Email address
    • Website URL
    • Unsubscribe option
      • Unsubscribe requests must be processed within ten days of receipt

Effective July 1, 2017, you may only send messages to those with express consent. There are two exceptions to this: you may send messages to individuals up to two years after a purchase or up to six months following an inquiry, but it is recommended that you obtain consent during this time.

Lawyers, accountants and others in professional services industries may be understandably concerned about their ability to reach out to referrals. A single message on the basis of a referral is allowed with the following stipulations:

  • The message must include the full name of the person making the referral
  • The referrer should have a relationship (familial or otherwise) with the person to whom you’re sending the message

CASL is a complex law and it is likely that questions will continue to arise. If you have questions about CASL compliance, or how you can use ContactEase or additional products, such as Mailing List Manager, to ensure that your firm remains compliant, contact us!

If you are working with a third party email system, you may find that their policies are stricter than the CASL requirements. You will also likely find that most of these concerns have already been addressed for you.

Did you know that ContactEase now integrates with Constant Contact and other email systems? Contact us today to learn more about this exciting add-on feature!