What You Should Know About Canadian Legislation

One thing that you have to remember with eMercury is that we have customers from all over the world, who in turn have subscribers that are spread out in all corners of the globe as well. Add the fact that different countries, states, and jurisdictions will have their own specific laws regarding email and you will understand why we pay close attention to international laws that may affect people from different places, as we need to take care that our customers aren’t breaking any laws that might affect their business depending on their place of operations.

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A great example of these international laws is the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which went into effect last July 1 and has already entered its 3-year transition period. The CASL is garnering a lot of attention among email marketers lately because it is considered as one of the most strict and expensive spam laws in existence.

We’ll try to explain the effects of the CASL to users not just in Canada but all over the world, but keep in mind that this is not meant to be legal advice but mere discussion for informational purposes, which has been simplified as much as possible to make it easier to digest. It is best to consult your lawyer or firm after reading just to get relevant legal advice suited to your situation, if you feel that the CASL will affect your business.

Difference Between CASL and CAN-SPAM Act

One of the biggest difference between the CASL and the more popular CAN-Spm Act is that the former creates a hierarchy of consent that can either be express or implied. Express consent is basically consent that applies until it is revoked by a user, while implied consent can be established in a wide variety of ways and has a different duration (it lasts anywhere from six months to two years.)

Another “feature” of CASL is that the onus is on the sender when it comes to proving consent. Thankfully for eMercury users, we have the double opt-in method that makes it easy to keep accurate records/

CASL’s Impact on Users

We have to admit that CASL is not necessarily bad. In fact, looking at it subjectively, one gets the feeling that it is good for the industry as a whole. For instance, it weeds out lazy email marketers because it encourages extensive documentation and setting up permission-based campaigns. Marketers will have to do the extra work that ensures subscribers aren’t getting mail that they didn’t ask for, or said marketers will have to contend with CASL’s hefty fines (violators may end up with a $1 million fine in the case of an individual or as much as $10 million in the case of an entity.)

However, right now the CASL is actually causing spam to skyrocket. The deadline is July 1, but there is a 3-year transitional period that gives leeway to contact individuals from whom you had implied consent (e.g. if they bought a product.) While marketers can no longer send to any new individuals without express consent, the existing amount of contacts that fall into the “implied content” clause are probably receiving a lot of spam now as people are sending as much mail as they can and contacting individuals before the transitional period ends.

Impact on Users Who Want To Avoid Legal Trouble

If you’re an eMercury user, chances are there’s no need to panic even if the CASL has already gone into effect. The transitional period gives you enough leeway to reconfirm permission from your list and turn any implied consent into express ones. EMercury, by default, is designed to be used for permission-based newsletters and campaigns, our policies and tools help encourage users into doing things in a way where they will be compliant with the CASL. Additionally, our system provides means for extensive documentation, so even if you do reach the point where you have to prove express content, you’ll have the means to do so.

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