Consequences and Exemptions
In our last post on the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, we talked primarily about consent, and what is required of marketers to gain consent for their email marketing. This week, I will go into more detail surrounding the consequences and exemptions to CASL.
Fines & Consequences
As mentioned in the previous post, CASL is not simply a superficial piece of legislation, it has real consequences that have already resulted in substantial fines for companies that have violated its terms. Porter Airlines and Rogers Communications were fined $150,000 and $200,000 respectively for faulty unsubscribe functions and opt-ins. The largest fine issued has been against Compu-Finder, a Quebec based company well known for their spamming practices, who was fined a whopping $1.1 million in 2015 for emailing without consent and providing no unsubscribe option.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has the ability to fine companies up to $10 million for violations of CASL. Understanding that these fines are real and significant is important to keep in mind when planning your email marketing campaigns.
One provision of CASL that has been delayed, the Private Right of Action (PRA), would have given individuals the right to sue companies that sent them emails they did not consent to. A major factor in delaying this provision was that there are types of emails that users would want/need even without their consent. As a result, CASL has laid out a list of messages that do not require consent, and therefore are protected from being deemed violations.
The following is a list of those exemptions:
What should I do?
So, if you want to avoid being exposed to potential CASL fines, what should you do? Here are a few steps that you can follow.
Receiving expressed or implied consent is always the most important step in your email marketing.
Having a paper trail to defer to when the question of consent arises is the best way to protect yourself from CASL.
Everyone in your organization is subject to compliance with CASL. Just because you understand the rules and implications of it, does not mean that they will.
Make certain that all of the necessary elements (ie. unsubscribe option, contact info, etc.) are included in your emails.
You should be constantly monitoring your practices to make sure that proper CASL compliance is taking place.
Checkout Part 1 of this article here