What Does Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law Mean for Your Business?
WHAT DOES CANADA’S NEW ANTI-SPAM LAW MEAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Photo by: Susan Sermoneta
Canada’s new anti-spam laws (CASL) are quite dramatic. For example, if you have an enthusiastic intern and they send a well-meaning message to a large client list that goes against the CASL, your company could be charged $10 million.
The irony of the CASL is that no one really understands how it works as many of the rules can be open to interpretation. In fact, it is so confusing that a grace period has been assigned for the years after the law took place on July 1, 2014 allowing well meaning interns and CEOs alike the freedom to make mistakes and not get charged. (No one will be able to bring a case before the courts, including class actions, until July 2017).
Widely considered one of the toughest anti-spam laws in the world, the purpose of this new law is to prohibit spam and related network threats while encouraging electronic commerce by ensuring confidence and trust in the online marketplace.
HOW DO I KNOW IF CASL AFFECTS MY BUSINESS
CASL applies to all commercial electronic messages, which it regards as: “any electronic message that encourages participation in a commercial activity, regardless of whether there is an expectation of profit.” Therefore if you use email, text, social media, phone or instant message, this applies to you.
According to Small Business BC, the law does not apply to all social media. For example broadcast tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts are exempt, however if you direct message your followers, this will be included under the law.
HOW DO I COMPLY WITH CASL?
It is every business’s duty to understand and comply with the law. There are three requirements that your business will need to follow in order to be compliant:
- Consent – You must have express or implied consent to send a commercial electronic message.
- Identification – You must clearly identify yourself or the business sending the commercial electronic message.
- Unsubscribe – There must be an unsubscribe mechanism present on any commercial electronic message sent, and it must be functional for at least 60 days.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF CASL?
There is a wide range of enforcement tools available to the CRTC. Violations can result in a range of penalties including warnings or administrative fines up to $10 million for businesses and $1 million for individuals.