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Canada’s New Anti-Spam Legislation: What Email Marketers
Need to Know

Canada has finally published its Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM)
laws and marketers are wondering what they need to do, and when. Unlike
the US CAN SPAM language, which only addressed Email Marketing under its
jurisdiction, CASL covers “message sent by any means of
telecommunication, including a text, sound, voice or image message.”

Primarily, CASL requires an explicit opt-in for any CEM entering or
leaving Canada, which means that Canadian senders in the US need to be
diligent about maintaining opt-in records for any recipient – regardless
of where they reside. CASL also prohibits the installation of computer
programs without consent and sending misleading or false information
inside the identifying elements of the message in the header.

CASL takes effect July 1, 2014 and enforcement is expected to begin in
September 2014 – which means you have a little time to get your data
analyzed and ready to go.

So what are the steps marketers should be taking to be ready for CASL?

  • For US marketers sending in to Canada, identify email addresses from
    your database that do not have an explicit opt-in and that indicate
    Canadian residence. Now is a great time to do a re-subscribe campaign –
    get the expressed opt-in now so that you can continue mailing to those
    customers after July 1. If you do not currently maintain geographical
    information about your customers, now is the time to start gathering it.
  • For Canadian marketers, identify any record that does not have an
    explicit opt-in and do a re-subscribe campaign prior to July 1 so that
    you can continue mailing to your customers.
  • Start looking at your privacy policies. Review them with your legal
    teams to make sure your language accurately addresses CASL requirements.
  • In sign-up forms, consider collecting country information for
    subscribers so that you can effectively manage to all non-US laws and
    requirements, which include the removal of that pre-checked subscribe
    box – because technically, that is an opt-out.

July will be here before you know it, so start planning now to best
ensure a flawless transition to accommodating the new CASL requirements.