Canada has finally published its Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM) laws and marketers are wondering what they need to do, and when. Unlike the US CAN SPAM language, which only addressed Email Marketing under its jurisdiction, CASL covers “message sent by any means of telecommunication, including a text, sound, voice or image message.”
Primarily, CASL requires an explicit opt-in for any CEM entering or leaving Canada, which means that Canadian senders in the US need to be diligent about maintaining opt-in records for any recipient – regardless of where they reside. CASL also prohibits the installation of computer programs without consent and sending misleading or false information inside the identifying elements of the message in the header.
CASL takes effect July 1, 2014 and enforcement is expected to begin in September 2014 – which means you have a little time to get your data analyzed and ready to go.
So what are the steps marketers should be taking to be ready for CASL?
- For US marketers sending in to Canada, identify email addresses from your database that do not have an explicit opt-in and that indicate Canadian residence. Now is a great time to do a re-subscribe campaign – get the expressed opt-in now so that you can continue mailing to those customers after July 1. If you do not currently maintain geographical information about your customers, now is the time to start gathering it.
- For Canadian marketers, identify any record that does not have an explicit opt-in and do a re-subscribe campaign prior to July 1 so that you can continue mailing to your customers.
- Start looking at your privacy policies. Review them with your legal teams to make sure your language accurately addresses CASL requirements.
- In sign-up forms, consider collecting country information for subscribers so that you can effectively manage to all non-US laws and requirements, which include the removal of that pre-checked subscribe box – because technically, that is an opt-out.
July will be here before you know it, so start planning now to best ensure a flawless transition to accommodating the new CASL requirements.