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Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation: The Revised Regulations Update

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by: Stephen Guerra (@StephenGuerra)
13 April 2012

Good news comes to us in the final form of the regulations associated with the soon-to-be-effective Canadian Anti-Spam legislation (CASL). In October of last year, I wrote about the proposed set of regulations and had concerns about several of the requirements. After reviewing the feedback presented by many parties on these proposed regulations, the Canadian government has significantly improved the legislation.

Here’s what I see as the two most important changes:

1) Form of consent requirement: In the original proposed regulation, opt-in consent was required to be in written form. This presented two significant problems, each of which has been addressed in the revised law. The first was whether “written” included electronic forms. The new regulations specifically state that electronic forms do qualify as written permission.

The second problem was that written consent would eliminate many industry-standard methods of acquiring permission, including collection of business cards at trade shows or verbal permission given during point-of-sale transactions. The new regulations now allow for verbal as well as written permission.

2) Unsubscribe mechanism: The proposed regulations stipulated that a subscriber must be able to opt out with only two clicks. This presented problems for those who may be using preference pages to control permission. While opting out via a preference page may be easy, it often requires more than two clicks to do so, especially when including clicking the link in the message that takes the subscriber to the preference page. The new regulations satisfactorily address this concern by stating that the opt-out must be able to be “readily performed.”

Here’s a summary of the key proposed regulations:

While we don’t yet have a specific date for when the Canadian Anti-Spam law will go into effect, it’s expected to sometime this year. U.S.-based senders should remain aware that certain parts of this legislation are cross-border enforceable with the United States. As always with legislation issues, please seek counsel for advice on compliance.

It’s also important to note that the legislation provides for mitigation of penalties when the sender has made a good-faith effort to comply. Documented processes and training programs are critical to all senders of commercial electronic message. Silverpop Consulting Services has extensive experience in providing best practice training and helping our clients develop written policies and procedures for managing commercial messaging. If you’d like assistance in these areas, please contact us at SilverpopStrategyConsulting@silverpop.com. And remember, have fun and keep learning.

Silverpop does not provide legal guidance and presents this information as a discussion of general legislation issues and not as legal advice. Please consult your attorney for legislation compliance guidance.

Related Articles:
1) “Keeping Our Eye on CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation)”
2) “4 Ways to ‘Legislation-proof’ Your Email Marketing

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