Was CASL built to keep marketers out?

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) may not be as bad as some made it out to be.

CASL comes in to effect July 1st of this year, so like many marketers who send electronic messages I have been paying attention for a few months now, trying to understand the legislation and what we have to do as marketers to be ready.

As it turns out, it depends on who we are and what kinds of messages we send, and of course to whom.

If you are a registered charity, or a political party where the primary purpose of the email is to raise funds for the charity or the party, then CASL does not apply to you.  If you are sending messages to friends and family, you don’t need to worry; no need to ask your favourite Aunt if she would like to unsubscribe from your holiday card, the one with the kids and the dog, as much as she might like to.

It does apply to you however if you are sending a CEM (commercial electronic message), and this does not just mean email.  It applies to text and social messages too.  Essentially the rule of thumb here is that if you are promoting or discussing a commercial activity it applies.

If you are sending messages to current or recent customers, you have a little less to worry about, but if you are prospecting it gets tougher, and understandably so.  Prospecting is where we sometimes stretch the boundaries on what we as marketers convince ourselves is not SPAM.

Here are the basics steps you need to follow:

  1. Consent
    You must have expressed or implied consent to send a message.
  2. Identification
    You must clearly and simply identify yourselves and anyone else on whose behalf the message is sent.
  3. Unsubscribe Mechanism
    In every message you send, you must provide a way for recipients to unsubscribe from receiving messages in the future.

There are a few details that you have to pay attention to, like what is considered express or implied consent, how much identification is needed in say a text message,  and do I need an unsubscribe link in my day to day emails.

If you want to learn more about these details, below you will find some great resources which I used in my own research.

All in all I think that the new law was created to protect consumers and businesses. With the good work of lots of people in the industry, like the Canadian Marketing Association many refinements have been made to ensure that if we operate above board, we wont need to worry too much.  But don’t just take my word for it here, do a little research, or drop me a line and we can review your current practices and ensure we are complying with the law.

CASL Resources: 


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