Now that we are 5+ years in, this might be a good time to refresh our memories on CASL and some of the key aspects of this legislation.
Photo Source: Ben White via Unsplash
CASL (Canadian Anit-Spam Legislation), with much confusion, came into effect in July 2014. This Legislation was introduce to combat spam and reinforce best practices in email marketing. According to the government of Canada at the time, “Canada was home to 7 of the world’s top 100 spamming organizations” and by 2017, that number has decrease to a mere 2.
The lead up and initial phase (July 2014 - July 2017) of CASL left many businesses (and marketers) scrambling to figure out how to undertake the overwhelming task of getting consent from their current subscriber base as well as adjust their templates to reflect the requirements. There was uncertainty around what fell under CASL and how to comply as the legislation used a hefty amount of legal jargon.The Canadian Government has provided a mini dictionary of the terms and definitions used in CASL which can be accessed by clicking here.
It is important to note that, for the first time in Canadian history, individuals working for a company could be held accountable and face steep fines (up to $1 million) for any violations.
Prior to CASL’s implementation date, some large companies brought in their legal teams to mitigate the risks faced by the company and its staff by translating the legal jargon into something their employees could understand. Many small businesses didn’t have the resources for this and were, therefore left to wade through it alone or rely on outside marketing contractors to ensure they were in compliance.
July 2017 saw two major changes to CASL; The first was that consent collected before 2014 now had an expiration date and, the second was the enactment of the Private Rights of Action. The Private Rights of Action meant brands who sent unsolicited electronic messages could be used by the receiver (individual or organization) of those messages.
There are 5 key points CASL prohibits that small businesses should know:
Sending emails, text messages, and messages via social media channels (including LinkedIn)
Installing and updating software without consent
Misleading and false representations to promote products and services
The collection of personal information by accessing devices and computer systems
Collecting and/or using electronic addresses (including emails) without consent
For a complete description of the above, click here.
Check out our post later this week on 7 Components of CASL Every Small Business Should Know!
Disclaimer: This post is intended to provide you with a high-level overview of CASL and is not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice. Please contact your attorney for advice on email marketing regulations or any specific legal problems.