With the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, or CASL coming into effect in just a few short months, businesses want to be absolutely certain that they are CASL compliant to avoid the fines, which have the potential to be steep: up to $10 million. Here are a couple of quick and easy tips to be sure that you're complying with all the restrictions and rules that come along with the new legislation.
1. Make sure that you get consent for anything and everything. On any signup forms, program installations, or anything like that, make sure the terms and conditions are agreed to. The exceptions for this are implied consent situations where you have a prior business relationship. Consent is relatively simply fixed, since you only need to remind people to opt in via whatever mechanism you have available. An added point is that the act can be applied to businesses not based in Canada that do business within the country. As such, for those businesses, this is doubly important since they have more than one set of rules to ensure compliance to.
2. Don't mislead with your "from address". You want to be sure to be compliant, and that means they need to know exactly where the communication is coming from. You must include your name or the name of your company as the sender. Again, not a difficult fix.
3. You need to include a simple opt-out method. Just like the opt-in, the customer needs to have a way out. This is a good practice anyway, because nobody likes jumping through a dozen hoops just to leave a service. If you don't have an opt-out method, make sure that you put one in soon, because if any of these conditions are not met by July 1, 2014, you will be considered to be in violation of the legislation.
4. If you have previously generated lists of clients that you feel CASL will nullify, don't panic yet. Some of those methods of consent are still deemed acceptable under the new regulations, and you have a three year period after the enactment of CASL to ensure that you receive consent and opt-in those customers. Using the compliance guidelines, that period of time should be sufficient for you to migrate your lists into a CASL compliant format. While it is ideal that you switch all of them over immediately, you have time.
5. Consider other mass messaging for leads who are not in your consent list. Television, newspaper, internet and radio ads aren't covered by the legislation, so in terms of generating more traffic on your website, those are good alternatives if you previously used unsolicited messaging. This can make people aware of your website, where they can then sign up to consent to communications.
6. Make sure that your communications and advertising are totally transparent, as the use of false or misleading representations online in promotion of products or services is also covered in the CASL bill. Honesty catches the interest of a lot more customers to begin with, but now it is not only recommended, but also enforced with hefty fines.
Following these tips, in addition to educating yourself further using the website provided by the Canadian Government and checking out our own CASL page, you should be able to get everything compliant with the new legislation and avoid any issues. A lot of these are best practices and improve customer satisfaction anyway, so by complying with CASL, you'll most likely see a bump in customer satisfaction. Good luck everyone, and take care to ensure that you're compliant by July 1, 2014!