This year Canada began implementing Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which targets spammers. The U.S. first passed the CAN-SPAM law in 2003 that also targeted spammers, however, the CASL is set to impose more severe consequences. These can include multi-million dollar civil penalties and even grants permission to authorities to hold individual officers of a business responsible. How does this affect you and what can you do to protect yourself?
Marketers need to pay attention to their mailing lists and be aware if they have any subscribers in Canada. In the U.S., CAN-SPAM refers only to email lists and the regulations are still pretty lenient. Emails simply must contain the following: a mailing address, either a phone number, email, or web address, and an unsubscribe mechanism.
Canada's CASL however, refers not only to email, but SMS, text messages, and to some phone calls as well.The new legislation requires that email recipients give consent before they receive any commercial email. Even if you are sending the content from the U.S., if it is opened in Canada, you need prior consent.
Opt-in email services, which require customers to sign up and acknowledge registration, are a great way to protect yourself from this. While the CASL will not take full effect until 2017, now is a great time to review your opt-in practices, and consider re-opting in any Canadian subscribers you have.