Introduced by the federal government in 2010, Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) aims to regulate online commercial communication to help reduce spam and secure the protection of consumers. The first rules regarding the sending of commercial electronic messages will take effect this July 1st.

At the heart of CASL lies the obligation to obtain and record the consent of recipients subscribed to your mailing lists. Before sending any commercial electronic message, you must have secured the consent, either express or implied, of your subscribers.

To help you comply to the various requirements of the new law, we’re recapped below the essential information.

Express Consent (opt-in)

You have an express consent when the user explicitly agrees to receive commercial emails from you through a concrete action. This consent cannot be assumed and must include the purpose for which it is requested, along with your name.

It must also respect the following conditions:

  • The request must not be buried in terms and conditions

  • The consent must be expressed in a positive and explicit way

  • An acknowledgment email must be sent to the person giving consent

Once the consent is acquired, you can keep the recipient in your database indefinitely until the person unsubscribes.

Implied Consent

You have an implied consent valid for 3 years only when there is an ongoing business relationship between yourself and the recipient.

Such business relationship includes :

  • The purchase of goods or services

  • The agreement from the recipient to the possibility of business, investment or gaming

  • An ongoing contract signed between the two parties

If you do not send a first email within the first 2 years following the start of the established relationship, your consent becomes invalid. This is why we recommend you ensure the permanent validity of all your consents by converting all your implied to express ones.

An implied consent valid for 3 years is also gained if the user has asked you for information during the 6 months before the sending date of your first email.

Be mindful! When a user simply likes your Facebook page or follows you on a social media platform, you have not obtained their implied consent.

Checkbox Permissions

Through the steps of buying a product or participating in a contest, a pre-checked box to subscribe to your mailing list equals an implied consent. However, if users check the opt-in box themselves, you’ve acquired an express consent that requires no further validation.

Rules Concerning Your Email Sending

In all your email communications, you must also comply to the new law by including all the following :

  • The postal address of your company

  • A customer service phone number OR a voice mail box OR the company’s email address

  • Clear unsubscription steps to easily remove consent

  • An unsubscribe link functional for at least 60 days (with the removal of consent within 10 days of its request)

Some Good News

The CRTC has stated that every express consent obtained in accordance with the current law will remain valid after July 1st, even if consents do not include all the new required conditions. Additionally, the anti-spam law does not apply to:

  • Referral programs emails

  • Transactional emails (possibly including cross-sells suggestions)

Your Action Plan

With this information at hand, you’re now ready to execute an efficient action plan that includes:

  1. The identification of the types of consent currently in your mailing database

  2. The conversion upgrade of your implied consents to express ones

  3. The monitoring and recording of all your consents

If you’d like to discuss this article or even your email marketing strategies, send us a line!