Making Sure You're Ready for Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation

By ​David Moore

June 3, 2014

shutterstock_156885968Email marketing in Canada is getting shaken up.

A landmark law, the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, goes into effect July 1, 2014, and it promises to substantially change the digital marketing landscape—and not just for Canadian companies. The law, CASL for short, applies to all companies who market to Canadians.

For US companies marketing to Canadians, CASL marks a significant change. While the US-equivalant, CAN-SPAM, applies only to email related to commerce, CASL applies to email, instant messaging, text messaging, and any other electronic correspondence. It’s also different in another key aspect: consent. While CAN-SPAM allows marketers to send emails to individuals on purchased lists, CASL does not.

As a native Canadian and product manager of our email solution, I’ve been paying close attention to developments surrounding the legislation. With a month to go, I figured I would highlight for you some of the most helpful resources I’ve found, grouped by topic:

Does it Apply?

Before you dive deep into CASL and all of its nuances, determine if you’re affected by it. This video and infographic from CakeMail makes it dead simple to find out.

Assessing Your Email Program

ReturnPath has a super-helpful compliance checklist that will help you assess your database and existing campaigns, which of your subscribers will require reconfirmation, and how to get started with your compliance effects.

How to Prepare

Marketo recently hosted a webinar to talk about the various forms of consent under CASL, important exclusions and how to develop an opt-in mechanism that complies with the law. Also of help: Marketo discusses what type of “evidence” you should keep to prove an individual’s consent.

History and Finer Details

ExactTarget’s white paper on the law does a great job of giving you the history behind CASL as well as some finer details, like which Canadian government agency has jurisdiction over which part of the law.

Most of the Above, but in Bullet Form

If you’re looking for a quick overview, Mailchimp created a bulleted list that will answer most of your questions.

Obviously, when it gets down to the particulars of your specific situation, you should be consulting with your lawyer. Up until that point, however, I think you’ll find these resources to be helpful.

Canadian flag image courtesy of Shutterstock.

David Moore is a Senior Product Manager at Monetate. Formerly a product eBusiness lead at Gordon Food Service, Dave designed, developed and launched ecommerce and social community tools for large enterprises in the restaurant, healthcare and education sectors. Dave is an award-winning photographer, an avid traveler and a keen user advocate.

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