Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) is a set of laws responsible for regulating of all types of commercial interactions on the internet. It is one of the strictest legislations of its kind and is implemented to protect consumers from spammers. Spam is any kind of unsolicited, commercial data transmitted via an electronic medium.
CASL regulations came into effect on July 1st, 2014 and apply to commercial operations of entrepreneurs, corporations and even not-for-profit organisations. Therefore, it’s crucial for every business owner to be well-versed with these laws and their implications.
Here are a few key things every businessman needs to know about CASL regulations:
CASL regulations directly affect the way you communicate Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM) to your potential and existing customers. CASL strictly prohibits companies from sending out CEMs to their consumers without receiving their express or implied consent.
- Express Consent
Express Consent is when a customer orally or in writing consents to receive CEMs from your organisation through your various business touchpoints. This includes signup forms, newsletters etc.
- Implied Consent
Implied consent is applied to customers who have a pre-existing interaction with your business. This is only applicable to customers who have purchased a commodity or service from you in the past 2 years or have made an enquiry with your business in the past 6 months. This exchange allows you to send CEMs to these customers for the aforementioned time periods.
It is necessary for companies to adhere to these timelines by keeping a track of their business contacts in order to avoid liability in the future. This requisite for consent also extends to the installation of various computer programs and mobile applications in consumers’ devices.
Your commercial messages also need to declare the identity of the brand for which the message is being sent across, clearly and noticeably. They also need to include the Option to Unsubscribe in each of their communications, visibly.
As mentioned earlier, CASL regulations are quite strict and can be enforced with stringent penalties. These penalties go up till 10 million Canadian Dollars for businesses and up till 1 million dollars for individuals. It can also lead to a settlement of various remuneration claims, depending on how your CASL violation affected the offended parties.
Also keep in mind, CASL extends to all businesses operating in Canada and even to businesses in other countries who interact with Canadian customers. It means a violation of any of these laws can result in contacting the Anti-Spam authority of the business’s native country with similar rules. This can lead to disciplinary action against businesses from 2 different countries.
Therefore, it’s imperative for companies to come up with a compliance strategy that implements CASL regulations in their everyday operations. This includes preparation of policies and agreements for your employees which ensure no laws are violated.
CASL violations not only cost your business a large amount of money but also harm its reputation and credibility. While implementing a new commercial communication plan, always double check the compliance of the idea with your lawyer. To understand CASL and its implications on your business further, consult an experienced law firm to guide you through the process.