As you might have seen, Canada recently enacted a new anti-spam law. While much of the discussion is around whether or not the regulations will even be effective, there are still some concerns that companies outside of Canada need to consider if they wish to avoid “massive fines and penalties.”
If you have any involvement or interest in email marketing or functionality it is likely that you have already heard about Canada’s new anti-spam laws. Currently there is a large amount of outcry stating that the regulations probably won’t even be effective and they are punishing the wrong people, however that said there are still things companies need to know, even operating outside of Canada.
CASL: What is it and What Do I Need to Do?
Directly from their website: “Canada's anti-spam legislation (CASL) is in place to protect Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace.”
So what do you need to do to be compliant?
1. Essentially all forms of digital contact from businesses are required to be “opt-in”. Businesses not doing this currently are required to gain permission from each member of their list before emailing them further.
2. Emails must have a visible and functional unsubscribe link
3. The subject line must explain what the content of the email is about, so that readers can easily identify the type of email.
These regulations apply to all emails addressed to Canadian residents, even if the sending company is located outside of Canada. It also explicitly states no one is exempt, including charities and non-profits, who often have few other options (besides email) to gain support with their limited budgets.
What’s All the Fuss About?
Taking a quick look at the Forbes article posted above, there is a lot of discussion about this law punishing the wrong people and being potentially devastating to legitimate businesses. The issue is that a large part of most business’ marketing involves email to increase awareness and improve sales, these businesses will have a very hard time soliciting new customers under the new regulations.
At the same time there are some negative user implications as well. As the author explains:
“These are products and services I value very much, but which I never would have known about had I not received the message in the first place. I couldn’t have “opted in” to receive these communications, because I either wasn’t aware of them, or didn’t have interest previously.”
Finally the true target of this new law, malicious and fraudulent email, will probably not be affected as much as the lawmakers hope, because these types of email were being sent illegally even before the new regulations.
There is a lot to consider with the new Canadian Anti-Spam Law, so be sure to verify that your business is compliant with the regulations if you deal with Canadian customers and subscribers. What are your thoughts on the law? Will it be helpful or little more than detrimental to business? Be sure to share in the comments.