If you’re emailing or texting people in Canada, you must have their express permission to do so (or valid implied consent) because the consequences could be expensive!
Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) takes effect July 2014 and is one of the most aggressive anti-spam laws in the world. It applies to Canadian residents or anyone sending to Canadian residents. This includes email, instant messages, text messages, and any other electronic correspondence.
There is a lot of confusion when it comes to express permission, implied consent, and when consent is not required. According to MailChimp, here’s the breakdown.
Consent is NOT required if you are:
- Sending to a family member or someone with whom you have an established personal relationship.
- Responding to a customer or correspondence from the recipient within the previous six (6) months.
- Sending to an employee or individual associated with your business like a consultant or franchisee.
- Attempting to enforce a legal right or court order.
- Sending a message that will be opened or accessed in a foreign country, including the United States, China, and the majority of Europe.
- Sending on behalf of a charity or political organization for the purposes of raising funds and soliciting contributions.
- Providing information about a warranty, recall, safety, or security about a product or service purchased or used by a recipient.
- Providing information about an ongoing use, purchase, subscription, membership, account, loan, or other ongoing relationship.
- Delivering product updates or upgrades.
- Sending a single email to a recipient who does not know you, but on the basis of a referral, if you disclose the full name of the person who made the referral. In addition, the person who made the referral can be a family member or have a personal or business relationship with the recipient to whom you are sending.
If you do not meet any of the above criteria, then consent is required.
Consent can be implied in the following situations:
- The recipient has within the previous 24 months purchased a product, service, or made some other business deal with you, been a party to a contract with you, or has had a membership with your organization.
- You are either a registered charity or political organization and the recipient has made a donation or gift, volunteered for, or attended a meeting organized by you.
- The message sent is related to the recipient’s professional or official role, and the recipient has not told you or published that they don’t want to receive unsolicited messages, and the recipient has either directly given you their address or has conspicuously published it.
If you do not meet any of the above criteria, then you must obtain express consent before you can send, which can be obtained by giving the recipient:
- A clear and concise description of your purpose in obtaining their consent (tell them what you will be sending).
- Your name.
- Both the physical mailing address and either a telephone number, email address or web address of the person seeking consent or the person on whose behalf it is sought.
- A statement that the recipient may unsubscribe at any time.
- If you are seeking consent on behalf of someone else, you must identify specifically who is seeking the consent and on whose behalf it is being sought (if that someone else is unknown, be as specific as possible).
- IF YOU HAVE A CHECK BOX, THE DEFAULT MUST NOT BE PRE-SET TO GIVE PERMISSION. The recipient must actually check the box or click the button.
- You must retain a record of all of the above.
For further information, download Elite Mail’s free resource:http://www.eliteemail.com/learning-center/casl/CASL-Survival-Guide-by-Elite-Email.pdf
And if you’re not sure what to do for your circumstances, please contact your lawyer.