As a sender in today’s environment it is important to stay up on any and all Anti-Spam Laws that may affect your business. The safest way to stay ahead of the curve is to follow the strictest anti-spam laws keeping it simple so that you don’t have to focus on different laws for different regions. With a global market and ISPs that have a global footprint making it difficult to rely on regional TLDs to know where each recipient resides makes it all the more important to follow the strictest of laws. Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation (CASL) definitely meets that need.
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A Reflection on the Past: CASL 2014
In December 2010, Canada passed CASL, which was Canada’s version of the United States CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Beginning with phase one in July 2014, CASL set clear requirements for all commercial emails. Like CAN-SPAM, all non-transactional emails must include a working unsubscribe link and must be clearly branded, making it easy for the recipient to identify the sender. However, CASL’s big step away from CAN-SPAM is an opt-in law, meaning that senders are only allowed to send email to people who’ve agreed to receive messages from them.
One myth is that CASL only applies to Canadian companies or Canadian senders. However, CASL actually applies to recipients not senders. A US company sending to a recipient residing in Canada will be affected the same as a Canadian company sending to a recipient residing in Canada.
Since July 2014, a sender only had to provide proof of consent for subscribers acquired after July 2014. CASL gave senders 3 extra years to re-establish consent for subscribers acquired prior to July 2014.
A Look to the Future: CASL 2017
As of July 2017, that grace period will run out. Below are some details on how you can be compliant with the full CASL requirements before the CASL deadline.
*All implied consents now have an expire date – Previously CASL only required that implied consent proof be recorded for subscribers acquired after July 2014. Now ALL subscribers are held to the same standard.
*Individuals can now sue brands that send spam – Previously individuals reported complaints to the Canadian government and it was up to them to pursue the case. Now individuals and organizations can directly sue the sender for both actual and punitive damages. Not complying with CASL may result in fines of $200 per violation, up to $1 million per day.
Consent in Detail
CASL segments consent into two types:
Express consent means that a person has clearly agreed (orally or in writing) to receive email from you. Express consent will never expire unless the recipient withdraws said consent.
Consent can be implied if a recipient has purchased a product or service from a brand. This implied consent allows a sender to send promotional emails for a period of 2 years to that recipient.Consent can also be implied if a recipient has inquired about a product or service from a brand. This implied consent allows a sender to send promotional emails for a period of only 6 months.
If the recipient has not either expressly consented or renewed their implicit consent during that time frame by purchasing or inquiring again the sender must then remove the recipient from their promotional subscriber list.
CASL requires that senders keep a record of the consent they gain from recipients, including dates and location consents were collected. If a sender is challenged on consent the burden of proof is on the sender not the recipient. Therefore it is key to keep dates and locales of all consent especially implied.
Making the Most of the Present: CASL Next Steps
You want to clinch your preparedness? Below are a few follow up items you can complete to be ready for July 1, 2017
- Last chance to get that consent. Any sender that has relied mainly on implied consent to build their promotional list in the past should segment off any addresses that do not meet the above requirements for Implied consent. You should then run a final re-engagement campaign to gain express consent. Then any address that does not subscribe to your re-engagement attempts should be permanently removed from your list. Also attempt a final re-engagement prior to consent expiring for ongoing subscribers.
- Audit your templates. Check all your promotional templates to ensure they are fully branded with your business name, physical address, telephone number or email address and include a working unsubscribe link (unsubscribes must be completed within 10 days).
- Audit your list. Ensure you are only sending to recipients who have consented.
- Audit your data. Ensure you are recording date, time, location and consent type.
- Audit your suppression process. Ensure you are removing recipients as soon as their consent expires.
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