Top 5 Tips for CASL Compliance
Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) has its second anniversary on July 1st but a surprising number of Canadian businesses still haven’t taken the time to update their email practices and customer databases to ensure they are compliant with the law. If you are one of them, it’s time to stop putting off the task.
Fines for violating CASL rules can be significant — as high as one million dollars for individuals and 10 million dollars for businesses. The amount of the fines levied is at the sole discretion of the government, and so far, the government has signaled it is serious about penalizing CASL violators. Several prominent companies have been fined for CASL violations including Rogers, Porter Airlines and Compu-finder, but smaller businesses should also take heed, as they are not exempt from the rules.
On top of this, when CASL’s transitional period ends on July 1st 2017 there will also be the threat of civil actions for CASL violations. If you think Canadians would not sue over spam, think again. A Google poll last year found 54% of Canadians said they would consider joining class action lawsuits against companies for CASL violations.
The good news is it isn’t too difficult to comply with the legislation if you are diligent and organized. The following tips will help ensure your business’s emails and customer contact lists are CASL compliant:
1) Identify yourself
At the bare minimum, every email communication should include your name, the name of your business, and the physical mailing address of your business. You also need to include a phone number, email address or web address where you can be contacted.
2) Offer an unsubscribe option
Every email you send must include a clear unsubscribe option that is functional for a minimum of 60 days after the email is sent. If a customer chooses to unsubscribe, you have 10 days to remove their name and email address from your contact lists.
3) Be truthful
CASL requires businesses to be honest and transparent in all of their email communications. Misleading subject lines, false information in the message, or misleading sender information will land you on the wrong side of the law.
These rules don’t have to get in the way of effective digital marketing. Instead, use these requirements to nurture trust and build your brand. The goal of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation is to encourage business growth in a trustable online landscape. As long as your content is CASL compliant, relevant and engaging, you have nothing to fear.
4) Get express consent
The entire point of CASL is to protect Canadians from receiving unsolicited electronic communications, whether they are emails, instant messages or texts. Your first priority should be getting Express Consent from all of your contacts, old and new.
For new subscribers, ensure that your sign-up form includes an unchecked email permission checkbox, a clear statement indicating your purpose for sending e-communications and the subscriber’s right to unsubscribe at any time, and of course, your company’s contact information.
Your express consent checkbox must be independent of other opt-in boxes for permission or content preferences – you cannot bundle consents for different purposes.
When CASL became law on July 1st, 2014 the government allowed businesses a three year grace period during which they could assign a 3-year implied consent to their previously collected email contacts. That transitional period comes ends next July. Since building a customer contact list usually is expensive and time-consuming, it is prudent to spend time and effort planning, testing and building programs to acquire Express Consent from your existing lists.
5) Once your database is up to date, keep it that way
Under CASL requirements, information such as different types of consent, expiration dates, names, email addresses as well as source collection details all need to be actively tracked and managed.
The goal here is to ensure that emails have been captured properly and there are no expired consent emails in your commercial electronic messages.
In addition, managing a comprehensive and up-to-date database will make it easier to produce an audit trail in case the government requires proof of your compliance status.
There are many resources available to educate yourself and your company on CASL; from Government provided content to online training and learning, guides and of course counseling by legal experts.
Make sure you understand what the rules are and what it means to be compliant, so that you can properly assess your situation, identify issues and build a CASL compliance solution and processes that will work for your business. If you do determine that you need help, there are legal experts as well as technology solution providers who can assist with understanding and managing the CASL rules properly within your business.
About itracMarketer –
itracMarketer is a simple and affordable CASL compliant Email marketing and marketing automation solution built for medium-sized and large Canadian business. itracMarketer powers your digital marketing with time saving automated campaigns and lead capture, is tailored for your customer interactions, and provides reliable, personal touch service.