What you need to know about Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL).
Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is one of the toughest anti-spam laws in the world and has kept email marketers on their toes since its introduction in 2014.
To uphold the CASL regulations, promotional emails must contain the identification of the sender and a valid unsubscribe link. The CASL is also an opt-in law, meaning brands can only send emails to people who have consented to receive their messages. This law applies not only to Canadian brands, but anyone sending any electronic messages to recipients based in Canada.
To better understand CASL, you need to understand two types of consent as defined by the CASL.
1. Expressed Consent: Expressed consent means that an individual has consented (verbally or in writing) to receive emails from your brand. Expressed consent does not expire until the recipient has withdrawn the consent in writing, orally, or through unsubscribing.
2. Implied Consent: Implied consent is based on the existence of a relationship between the sender and the recipient, or on the existence of a specific set of circumstances.
For example, if a customer has made a purchase or an inquiry about your product or services, the CASL considers this as implied consent and allows you to send promotional messages. However, unlike expressed consent, implied consent expires after a set amount of time. For purchases, implied consent is valid for 2 years. For inquiries regarding products or services, the consent is valid for only 6 months. If the subscriber does not “renew” the implied consent during this period, by purchasing from you or inquiring again, the implied consent expires. In this case, you will no longer be able to send marketing communications to this subscriber.
The CASL requires you to keep records of consent received from subscribers, including information about when and where consent was obtained. If a lawsuit is challenged in court, the burden of proving consent is always on the sender. Tracking consent dates and expiration dates is critical, especially if your marketing relies on implied consent.
Violations of the CASL can result in fines of $200 per violation and up to $1 million per day. Penalties have far exceeded fines seen in the past.
What does this mean for you?
Collecting expressed consent through your email marketing software is extremely important for today’s email marketers. You also need to divide your list into categories depending on what kind of consent your contacts have expressed – and to keep that list up to date based on when you are legally allowed to email them.