Just when you thought you were complying with all regulations… BAM!!! A new set of rules appear. The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) went into effect on July 1, 2014 and applies to any business that uses commercial electronic messages, whether they are based in Canada, in the U.S., or any country outside of Canada.
What does the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation actually say?
The law requires:
1. Consent. Unless you have an existing business relationship, your business must obtain consent BEFORE sending commercial electronic messages (for ReminderCall.com customers, this means emails and text messages).
2. Identification. The messages must contain a truthful subject line and your clear identification.
3. Unsubscribe mechanism. The messages must contain a way for the recipient to opt-out of receiving further messages from you.(1)
Penalties for non-compliance include substantial fees and/or imprisonment; and the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation allows Canadian internet service providers to sue non-compliant senders.
What constitutes consent?
Explicit consent is the direct permission to email or text someone. For example, if your customer fills out a registration form online that requests email communications, you have documented explicit consent. Oral consent is allowed but undocumented… should there be a complaint the burden of proof is on you, the sender.
Implied consent is the implied permission to communicate by email or text message because there is an existing business relationship between the sender and the recipient. For example, if a customer has made a purchase from you, you have an implied consent to send them emails. Note: Implied consent is only valid for 2 years under the CASL.
Other forms of consent
Although exact rules are still being defined, if someone voluntarily shares their email address with you (such as handing you a business card), this constitutes consent. Also, if someone publishes their email address on their professional website, you may email them as long as the message is directly related to their business or professional role.
So, what does complying actually mean?
The good news is that if you are sending appointment reminders through ReminderCall.com, you are already complying with many of the CASL rules. You already have implied consent because you are in a business relationship that requires an appointment. If you are using our ready-made reminder templates, you are identifying your business in your messages and providing a way to opt-out from receiving future messages. Furthermore ReminderCall.com maintains your do-not-contact list to make sure you don’t accidentally contact anyone who has unsubscribed.
Here are a few more things you can do to comply with the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation as well as with the American CAN-SPAM rules:
1. Get explicit consent. Have all customers tell you how they wish to be contacted. This is a great courtesy to customers. It can be done through an online form, a written registration form, etc. Keep written records of all opt-in information. Also remember to get renewed opt-ins from Canadian customers you have not seen in over two years.
2. Make sure your emails have a legitimate, verifiable “From” email address, a truthful subject line, and your company’s identity and physical address. Make sure your text messages include your company name and phone number. Always include a clear way for the recipient to opt-out of receiving future emails and text messages from you.
What’s the bottom line?
The bottom line here is that if you are using ReminderCall.com to send appointment reminder text messages and emails to your Canadian customers, make sure you have an explicit or implied consent. Always include your identification. Provide a way to unsubscribe.
If you want to send marketing information to Canadian customers, you can read the actual [wpfilebase tag=fileurl id=6 linktext=’Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation’ /] yourself and, if necessary, get help from a qualified legal expert.
For more detailed information, please check out the [wpfilebase tag=fileurl id=7 linktext=’CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business’ /] .
1. Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation: An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act. June 12, 2014. Retrieved from: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/PDF/E-1.6.pdf
This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions about how these laws apply to your business, you should contact a legal expert for help.