Everything you need to know about CASL

Mark Emond

CASL Background

As you are likely aware, with the introduction of CASL on July 1, 2014, Canada implemented one of the most stringent sets of legislation anywhere in the world governing the sending of Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM) (which includes email, SMS, instant messaging, and social media).

In essence, the legislation required organizations to obtain explicit, opt-in consent from recipients of their CEM. There were, however, implied consent exemptions for existing or recent customers, or individuals who had recently placed an inquiry into a company. The legislation applies to all organizations, regardless of where they are located, who are sending CEMs to individuals who reside or work in Canada.

July 1, 2017 Update

When CASL was first implemented, the legislation provided a transition period from July 1, 2014 to July 1, 2017. During the transition period, implied consent was granted for the three years leading up July 1, 2017.

Now you may only send CEM to recipients that have already opted in with express consent or who continue to be governed under implied consent rules.

Implied consent as of July 1 now includes:

  1. They are an existing customer.
  2. They were a customer and their last date of purchase from you is within the past 24 months.
  3. They have made an inquiry with you in the last six months.

Furthermore, prior to July 1, if you found an email address on a website, you could send an email to that person. By publicly displaying their email address, they’ve given “implied consent.” That is no longer the case.

Ensuring Compliance

To ensure your organization is onside with CASL, you should have the following control mechanisms in place:

  • All registration forms on your website should have an opt-in check box for anyone residing or working in Canada. Opt-in means an unchecked box that people must explicitly check to receive CEM.
  • You must ensure everyone receiving CEM from you has explicitly consented to receiving them from you. This will not only ensure you comply with the legislation, but will also help protect your brand equity and optimize engagement in your CEM.
  • You should have built program logic (Smart Campaigns) in your Marketing Automation instance to ensure the proper sun-setting of implied consent recipients. To this end:
    • All former customers should be run through a Smart Campaign that removes their implied consent status 24 months + 1 day from the date of their last purchase. This applies to all individuals within this customer organization.
    • Individuals should be run through a Smart Campaign that removes their implied consent status 6 months + 1 day from the date of their last inquiry.
  • You need to ensure all CEMs have an unsubscribe mechanism (e.g., an unsubscribe link in an email) that enables recipients to easily unsubscribe from receiving CEM.
  • All CEMs must include the sender name and physical mailing address (which must be valid for 60 days following the sending of each message). So, if your business is moving soon, include your current and future address.

Demand Spring’s CASL Compliance Services

If you are not fully compliant with the above changes, Demand Spring’s Marketing Technology practice can help ensure compliance if you are running Marketo or Eloqua as your Marketing Automation platform.

We will build and test the Smart Campaign logic, the required field and form changes, and a one-time operational email communication to attempt to obtain explicit consent from individuals whose implied consent period is sun-setting. We will also document our controls procedures for your legal team.

Please contact your Demand Spring Client Catalyst or info@demandspring.com for more information.

For More Information

We recommend you consult with your in-house legal counsel for further information and visit the Government of Canada website applicable to CASL.

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