Unless you’re based in Canada, or doing a lot of business with people in that country, you may not be aware of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). The first phase of this new comprehensive law goes into effect July 1st in what many would agree is a necessary step to curtail the mix of unwanted, annoying and oftentimes misleading communications cluttering our electronic inboxes.
There have been similar attempts to accomplish this goal previously, including some that remain in effect covering both the U.S. and Canada. However, the new CASL restrictions come with a heavy-handed club of financial penalties designed to encourage compliance. People will pay attention or pay the price. Government agencies can pursue individuals with administrative fines reaching CDN$1 million per violation, or a business entity at the CDN$10 million level.
At its core, CASL attempts to shift control back to recipients and reinstate a true permission-based communications environment. Although CASL rules address several message characteristics of how to identify and contact senders and opt-out from further messages, what gets the most attention in business circles is the issue of “consent.”
Simply put, you cannot send electronic messages in or into Canada unless recipients have in some way given their consent to do so. Senders have two alternatives: they can seek an explicit okay, with written or verbal approval from recipients; or go for implied consent based on a prior business relationship, request for information, or a host of other legitimate reasons spelled out in the legislation.
Facing the risk of financial penalties, senders need to track and prove the details and dates of how consents were obtained. Very small firms or businesses with a couple hundred customers and prospects might choose to handle this administrative task with a simple spreadsheet. A larger firm with thousands of contacts and multiple marketing and business development programs occurring simultaneously needs a more advanced approach.
LexisNexis offered its recommendations for that “advanced approach” during a recent webinar about getting ready for CASL. While talking about communication audits and top-10 suggestions, we also outlined a best-in-class technology combination of the LexisNexis® InterAction® CRM product paired with the Vuture Email Campaign Module software. Some Canadian firms preparing for CASL compliance are already deploying this solution to gain unique advantages in automation, data quality and auditable tracking of relationship details. Perhaps you’ll find a few good ideas in these webinar presentation slides as well.
If all the CASL requirements work as planned, the question of “Got Spam?” could soon be a phrase from the past for those living and working in Canada.
* * *
David Jacobs is an enterprise client engagement manager for LexisNexis InterAction, where he serves as a consultant, technical advisor and project manager to guide firms in selecting and deploying the right portfolio solutions for their business needs.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
5 Lessons from an Expert Webinar on Law Firm Marketing