awhCbhLqRceCdjcPQUnn_IMG_0249Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation is about to be be given a major overhaul. But what does that mean for your Canadian business? Three words can help steer your email marketing initiatives in the right direction: Consent, Identification, and Unsubscribe.

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation comes into effect on July 1st, 2014. MB has put together a list of resources to help guide your business in the right direction. There are a number of great resources that can help you understand the scope of the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation and what you can do to be compliant to the new laws. Keep in mind that this information is just an overview and MB cautions the reader to consult a qualified legal expert to accurately assess their compliance.

Get Consent Today

A person who alleges that they have consent to send a CEM [commercial electronic messaging] has the onus of proving it. As such, it will be particularly important to ensure that any consents that are obtained and relied upon are recorded in a manner that can readily be retrieved.” – Anti-Spam Learning Center, Bennett Jones Law Firm

One of the key words, “consent”, is actionable immediately. The first step you can take in order to build an Anti-Spam compliant list is to make sure the recipient of any email message have given expressed consent orally or in writing. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commision (CRTC) has indicated that a person giving express consent must take some positive action to do so. Checking a box, for example, would adequately express consent.

To clarify, “express consent” can not:

  1. Be bundled into the terms and conditions attached to a product or service, or;
  2. Be a condition of sale.

In other words, express consent must be established separately from your other marketing messaging.

Many businesses have already created an email campaign to generate express consent. It is imperative that this message not be bundled with any other sales messages. This will dilute your ability to establish express consent. In other words, a recipient could argue that they believed they were agreeing to some other element of the email, other than consenting to receive commercial electronic messaging from your business. By keeping the message focused, the documentation you gather can support a due diligence defence at a later point in time.

Per best practice, consider including the following:

  1. A basic reference to the changing Anti-Spam laws on July 1;
  2. An opt-in button;
  3. What you intend to use their emails for;
  4. A sentence about what not clicking the opt-in button will mean (i.e. they won’t receive promotional emails once the Anti-Spam laws take affect on July 1).

Anti-Spam Legislation Resources

Here are some excellent resources that will help your business navigate Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation:

The CRTC’s Anti-Spam Site

This is the core website that will help you build compliance into your marketing plan. This website is clear, easy to navigate, and features an easy-to-digest video all about the new laws.

Bennett Jones Law Firm’s Anti-Spam Learning Center

MB has found this to be a very informative break-down of the Anti-Spam Legislation. Bennett Jones’ Anti-Spam learning Center includes a very detailed list of actions your business can use to guide their plan to be compliant.

Anti-Spam legislation has businesses scrambling to comply’ – Vancouver Sun

This article makes a case for building a compliant list before July 1, 2014. From the article: “After July 1, 2014 there will be restrictions on the extent to which you can send electronic messages, including electronic messages that are designed to ask for consent to send commercial electronic messages […] People are under the impression it’s only spam and they understand spam to mean a mass mailing; in fact, the (legislation) covers a lot more than that — one email to one person can be covered …. It also applies to software tracking cookies on an organization’s website. It has a broader scope than most people thought given its name but once they start reading it and realize the impact on their business, they realize it’s not just a matter of reading the law and writing a little internal memo to people.

Top Ten Things You Need To Know About Canada’s Anti-Spam Law

This point-form breakdown of the new Anti-Spam laws goes into great detail about the anti-spam laws. This article includes information for non-profits, exemptions, and topics such as email list maintenance.