The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) came into effect July 1, 2014. This affects any business sending commercial electronic messages (CEMs) to Canadians from anywhere in the world. To email Canadians you will require the two forms of consent that CASL will allow: implied (indirect) or express (explicit).
To mail or not to mail?
The first step is to review your existing list members to ensure you have received implied or expressed consent. Once determining the consent, ensure your receive express consent for any member that do not have any consent by attaining express consent before July 1, 2017. You will have three years to get the consent. We recommend getting express consent sooner than later, as it will keep you safe and compliant.
If you have received implied (indirect) consent through existing or non-existing business relationships you can continue to use the email addresses for a period of 2 years after the relationship ends, once CASL takes effect July 1, 2014.
An existing business relationship is one where the email list member has made, or enquired about, a purchase or lease of goods, land or service. The member also has a written contract or the acceptance of a business, investment from your business.
An existing non-business relationship are a registered charity, a political party or candidate, and the recipient has provided you a gift, a donation or volunteer work.
In addition business relationships, if the address was disclosed without any restrictions and your message relates to the recipients functions or activities in a business or official capacity.
If you have received valid express (explicit) consent in writing or orally whereby the email list member gave you a positive indication to receive the commercial electronic message and your request for consent set out clearly and simply the information you will be sending that member through the CEM. Explicit consent is not time-limited and is only bound by the list member withdrawing their consent.
To get express consent, we recommend sending a specific email to your list members asking them to confirm their opt-in status by clicking a link within the email. This opt-in action will continue their registration on the list and ensure the opt-in action is stored within your records.
How do I send my emails after July 1, 2014?
Ensuring you email has the appropriate communications, ask the following questions and ensure you can answer yes to all of them before sending the email:
Does the email clearly identify the person, business, or organization sending the message?
Does the email identify the Email Service Provider?
Does the email have a mechanism for people to easily unsubscribe at any time?
Does your email contain a valid mailing address and either a telephone number, email address, or web address?
Keep your records – always ensure you have proper records showing the start and end of the business relationship to maintain implied consent. You are responsible for proving consent, not the member.
CASL aligns with email marketing best practices and permission based email marketing develops long lasting relationships and increases open rates and keeps you easily compliant and safe.
Be creative about it, be quirky about it, “Hey keep us in your inbox?” , be informative about what information they will receive by consenting and provide easy access to subscribe and unsubscribe.