The end of the transition period for CASL: What is actually changing on July 1st, 2017?

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) came into effect on July 1st, 2014. With CASL’s third anniversary fast approaching, and the end of the transition period coming to an end, we’re hearing a lot about this in the media, and on the web.

We’ve noticed that many of our clients are looking for answers, and through guiding them, it has come to our attention that a lot of contradictory information is currently circulating on this matter. It’s unfortunate that some stakeholders in the community are opting for a very alarmist tone.

In this article we explain, demystify, and put into perspective the changes that will be taking place on July 1st.

The private right of action

To date, only the CRTC has been allowed to hand out fines to companies, or individuals at fault.

Effective July 1st, 2017, individuals, businesses, and organizations that receive a commercial electronic message that does not meet the requirements of CASL, will have a private right of action in court. This means that the recipient of a non-compliant email can bring the sender to court.

Should you suddenly be afraid of getting taken to court by individuals who receive your emails? We don’t believe so. Imagine the time, and money a person would have to invest in building a case. And for what? Probably not much. On the other hand, what we do expect to see more of, are class action lawsuits against actual “spammers” who send non-compliant emails to a large number of recipients.

Play by the rules and you’ll be immune to prosecution, just as you were already immune to CRTC fines.

Existing relationships – before July 1, 2014

When the law first came into effect existing business relationships automatically became implied consents. Which gave businesses 3 years to turn them into express consents; or to have proof of a valid implied consent available.

Some sources will tell you that as of July 1st, 2017, you will only be able to send emails to people who have given you express consent. Of course we’re not lawyers, but that wasn’t our interpretation!

Implied consents will remain a valid form of consent! You simply have to make sure to respect the deadlines given according to the type of contact (for instance after a purchase the implied consent remains valid for 24 months).

Let’s look at a concrete example. Let’s say you send your newsletter to a former client whose contract ended 4 years ago, and that person never gave you express consent. Well, after July 1st , 2017, you would not be allowed to continue sending him your newsletter.

It’s a good idea, to ask your contacts to provide you with express consent before July 1st. Cyberimpact can help you manage all of this, especially with the help of the consent block.

Demystifying CASL

One thing is certain, CASL is here to stay, and compliance from businesses is more important than ever.

Are you finding all of this complicated? You’re not alone, it can be easy to get lost in all this jargon. Having said that, we strongly believe that with the right tools and a little coaching, complying with CASL is easy. And it should definitely not stop you from doing email marketing, since it remains one of the most effective, and profitable marketing strategies!

That’s why we’ve decided to offer a free online workshop  “Email Marketing in the CASL Era: How to navigate CASL compliance worry-free, while attaining maximum business success!”

The information presented by Cyberimpact is a general interpretation of the law. This information is not, and should not be interpreted as legal advice. If you need legal advice, consult your lawyer.

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