July1st, 2014 marked the official enforcement date of CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation), and by the end of the 3 year grace period (July 1, 2017), email marketers are to have completed the arduous task of acquiring “Express” consent from all existing email contacts. This is not the only major change however, so we present you a summary of CASL basics for email.

Retailers – online and local – will experience greatest impact from CASL’s new consent requirements and are likely to experience an overall decrease in their contact databases. As would be expected from tighter anti-spam laws, consent will be required from all new subscribers. Unfortunately, CASL also requires consent from all contacts in existing email databases. As well, email marketers are now obliged to retain proof of consent for auditing purposes.

CASL breaks consenting subscribers into two groups:

Expressed consent describes opt-in subscribers i.e. those who have expressly provided you their email contact information, or checked an opt-in box to receive messaging from you.

Implied subscribers describes contacts with whom you have a relationship but who haven’t expressly requested email communication from you. Examples of these would be clients who have purchased something from you, or given you a business card at a trade show. Implied consent has a 24 month expiry period i.e. if you have not received express consent within 24 months of acquiring an email or other contact information, you may no longer send messaging to these subscribers.

Sender Verification
Senders are required to display a postal address, and phone number or email address within the message, that are valid 60 days from original date of circulation.

As has been the case for best practice push marketing for many years, a prominent unsubscribe feature is required. However, the new legislation requires that all unsubscribe functions remain active for 60 days, all unsubscribe requests be processed within 10 business days, and that the unsubscribe process requires nothing more than an email address to complete the action.

Beyond this brief summary, CASL addresses many types of electronic communications including social media and mobile messaging.  Take a look the following resources for more details and tips on managing your commercial electronic messaging under the new legislation:

The Government of Canada: Anti-Spam Legislation (Official Website)
CakeMail Blog
First Data Canada