By Richard Bolton of Centricity360

It’s a world filled with email SPAM, phishing schemes and malicious software attacks. We see it in our inbox every day and watch it on the nightly news as more and more Canadians and being taken advantage of. To combat these unwanted attacks, Canada has developed a new piece of legislation that comes into effect on July 1st, 2014, Canada Day. Its called the Canadian Anti-Spam legislation or affectionately known as CASL. Although we are one of the last of the G8 nations to adopt legislation against SPAM, it is one of the most aggressive anti-spam laws in the world. But, is it enough to stop the global dilemma of SPAM.

So what are the facts?

As business owners or leaders in organizations, what do we need to know? CASL is based on consent. Call it permission marketing if you will. As of July 1, 2014 you will need to obtain proper consent from the recipients of a commercial electronic message or CEM. A CEM is really any electronic message that is sent for the purpose encouraging action in a commercial activity, regardless of whether there is an expectation of profit. Emails, SMS text, instant messaging and social media messages (e.g. Twitter) are all forms of electronic messages. After July 1, 2014 you will be required to obtain consent, either express or implied, to send an electronic message. Express consent meaning someone actively gave you permission to send them a CEM, like an email opt in on your website. Implied consent meaning you have their consent based on a prior relationship, i.e. a customer from a business transaction. There are some exemptions that you will need to be aware of, like you will not be required to receive consent to send a quotation. Once you have received consent it is good for a 2 year period. Is your head spinning yet?

What can we do to prepare for CASL?

What I am recommending to my clients is that they first complete a CEM audit and process review. Make certain that everyone in your organization that communicates through CEM with clients, prospects, partners and suppliers know about the extent of the new law. Complete the audit and review of all your electronic communications methods, as an example review existing email lists and online data capture forms. Make certain that you have some systems in place for tracking consent from your clients and prospects, like an email marketing solution or a CRM customer database. Now is the time to reconfirm your consents with your existing clients. Why you ask? Because after July 1, 2014 you can’t send an email to get consent. Also, you’ll need to change some process by adding what they are calling “prescribed information” to all your outgoing electronic messages identifying yourself and providing an unsubscribe mechanism. Sound like a lot of work? It is, but it’s the new law and we will all need to comply.

Remember, the penalties for each violation can be up to $1-million for an individual and up to $10-million for companies. Yes, steep!

If you interested in a bit more background on CASL I have deliver presentations on the subject and they are posted on Slideshare and of course there is the government site for more details.

Richard Bolton 100x100Richard Bolton, Centricity360. As President of Centricity360, Richard Bolton is an independent consultant specializing in small business growth. Focusing on internet marketing strategies, online selling techniques, increasing customer value and implementing value added technologies. He works with business owners, professionals, and organizations as a trusted advisor producing dynamic results.  

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