The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) was passed into law in December 2010 and comes into effect July 1, 2014. With this deadline looming, many of our credit union clients have been asking how the new legislation could impact their email marketing strategies.
What’s the deal?
CASL is designed to reduce spam and prohibit phishing, malware and the other aggravations of the e-mail age. While there are many elements to CASL, this post focuses on the prohibition against sending commercial electronic messages (CEMS) without the recipient’s consent.
What’s a CEM?
- messages sent to email addresses, social networking accounts
- text messages sent to a cell phone
What’s the point?
You can’t send CEMS to your members unless you can prove that they gave you permission (verbally, electronically or in writing) with a handful of clear exceptions. This legislation doesn’t mean you can never email a member who isn’t on your list, but you need to understand the circumstances and exceptions around how you communicate via email or text. Most importantly, for businesses (and credit unions) this means that any CEMS you send to your members must include:
- defined content
- an unsubscribe mechanism
- contact information
What they’re saying on Parliament Hill
The Government of Canada tells us that as long as businesses follow a few simple rules, CASL isn’t going to fundamentally change an email marketing strategy:
“Legitimate businesses that use email to market their products to Canadians should not be negatively impacted by this law. The regime to allow for email marketing is based on a consumer opt-in approach, which stipulates that businesses must get consent prior to sending commercial email or have a preexisting business relationship with a consumer.”
There are some subtleties to the legislation, but essentially it mandates what have been best practices in e-mail marketing for a long time and that is to get consent before you send emails and make opting out crystal clear.
Will this be the death of your email marketing strategy?
What we’re doing
Our team has worked hard to digest this legislation for our clients. Come to our webinar on April 23rd to learn more about how to deliver compliant, creative, fun and engaging email marketing strategies.
Kristy Jahn-Smith, our CASL expert, will be attending an upcoming conference hosted by Calgary Economic Development. The conference will be presented by the law firm of Bennett Jones LLP and led by Martin Kratz Q.C., Head of Intellectual Property at Bennett Jones LLP and an internationally recognized lawyer who has more than 280 publications on intellectual property, technology law and related topics.