• Business planning and strategy

Want to Know the Real Deal with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation?

Futurpreneur | July 7, 2014

Bobby Umar, P. Eng, MBA, Raeallan, Toronto, ON, Futurpreneur Mentor

Everyone has been asking, discussing and researching the new Anti-Spam law with great trepidation. Here is what you need to know about the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL):

A sender must have:

a) Consent from the recipient to send an email or text whose purpose it is to sell or promote products or services;

b) Give recipients the option to opt-out of future communications of this nature; otherwise it will be considered spam.

Key Elements of the New Legislation

The first step is defining a Commercial Electronic Message (CEM). A CEM is a message whose purpose is to encourage participation in a commercial activity. For example: an attempt to sell or promote a product or service. Electronic messages are messages sent by any means of telecommunication, including e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, and certain messaging on social media.

An important element in the new legislation is how to define the consent by a recipient. There are two types of consent as defined for the new legislation:

Express consent – the recipient has given oral (if recorded), written or electronic permission to be sent a commercial message for a specific purpose. For example: a weekly e-newsletter.

Implied consent – the sender has an existing business or non-business relationship with the recipient, or the recipient has publicly disclosed his contact details (e-mail address, phone number etc.) to the sender without indication that he does not wish to receive unsolicited emails, and the message is relevant to person’s business role, function or duties in a business or official capacity.

If provided with the consent as outlined above, CASL does not apply. CASL also does not apply when you have a personal relationship with the recipient (ongoing two-way communications); a family relationship with the recipient; or messages that are sent within or between businesses, where there’s an ongoing business relationship and where the message concerns the activities of the business to which the message is sent.

Lastly, it is important to clearly identify yourself and your organization in all messages. You must include your mailing address, phone number for accessing an agent or a voice messaging system, and an email address or a web address for you or the person on whose behalf you are sending the message.

In conclusion, this new law is really meant to target those who literally find, buy, and/or steal e-mail addresses, and then spam people. Therefore the majority of businesses don’t need to worry.

The consent definition is VERY broad. With the implied consent, you can basically send an e-mail to:

1) Anyone who has a publicly disclosed their e-mail (via website, social media);

2) Those that have given you his/her business card with an e-mail or phone number;

3) Someone who has connected with you on social media (Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter etc.) and they have a disclosed e-mail or phone number;

4) Anyone with whom you have had at least two ‘ongoing’ two-way communications (via text or e-mail);

5) Lastly, anyone you know personally.

So be cognizant, always have an option to opt-out, don’t stress too much and send with good faith, good intent and good content!

This article was submitted by a Futurpreneur Canada mentor and does not constitute legal advice.  For more information about the legislation please see http://fightspam.gc.ca.