Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) - July 2014

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  • Aug 17th, 2014 10:12 pm
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Dec 10, 2004
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1/3 of my spam I receive is of Canadian origin which I never subscribed in the first place. So they are spammers by nature and I can't wait to see them punished!!!!
I am glad there's change. In the past sometimes a question to a company would results in a ton of spam as they'd "assume" you would be ok with receiving their stupid updates.

I also hope Canada will implement a similar law for junk mail. So many idiots come in to my home, disregrard the "no junk mail" sign and throw a bunch of their stupid flyers. A few times I'd get back home after a rain to find a whole lot of mess on the ground with all that paper in 1000s of pieces
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Mar 29, 2008
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July 1st! The CASL provisions are now in force.

As of today, generally your commercial electronic messages must comply with the consent and form requirements of CASL. One big difference from yesterday - assuming you can't rely on an exception to the consent requirement and that you can't rely on implied consent, you're going to need express consent before you can send out a commercial electronic message. Yesterday you were allowed to send out an email asking for that consent. Today, you're not.

Also, there's been a lot of discussion about consent, but don't forget there are the form requirements as well: Clearly identifying the sender, providing certain prescribed contact information, as well as providing a clear unsubscribe mechanism.
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Oct 19, 2003
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dazz wrote:
Jun 30th, 2014 1:19 pm
1/3 of my spam I receive is of Canadian origin which I never subscribed in the first place. So they are spammers by nature and I can't wait to see them punished!!!!
I am glad there's change. In the past sometimes a question to a company would results in a ton of spam as they'd "assume" you would be ok with receiving their stupid updates.

I also hope Canada will implement a similar law for junk mail. So many idiots come in to my home, disregrard the "no junk mail" sign and throw a bunch of their stupid flyers. A few times I'd get back home after a rain to find a whole lot of mess on the ground with all that paper in 1000s of pieces
Well sounds like you need a better mailbox... lol. The only thing about junk mail that I don't like is the fact that it is a waste of energy and resources, the actual presence of it in my mailbox is no big deal to me. The sheer number of constant mailings from real estate agents who are foaming at the mouth to sell my house is somewhat of a source of entertainment too.
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Apr 3, 2011
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I will give my input from a business perspective.

The new CASL act will do nothing to stop spam, as most spammers are out of reach of the short hand of the Canadian law (i.e Russia, Nigeria). They often forge email headers, so the spam looks like they came from legitimate companies.

This has been a cash cow for lawyers, striking fear in the Canadian Business Community, that by sending one unsolicited email, your business is going to be wiped out by a million dollar fine.

We do not send spam, however we send two emails to existing customers. The first is the followup to the order being delivered, that gives return instructions, warranty, and a small promotional message for our other websites). The second letter is to seek permission to send a once every six months promotional email (explicit consent), with links to other websites we own (cross-selling). Technically, this second email is in violation of the CASL, as you cant promote your products in a explicit consent letter. Am i worried, No.

First of all, the CASL is feel good legislation that does nothing to stop spam, as described earlier. It restricts Canadian Businesses from conducting business with existing customers. It's expensive to obtain a customer, and with the CASL, if the customer does not open your email, gets caught in a junk mail folder, or is deleted without action in error; during the daily spam deletion ritual, you are not allowed to contact that customer again.

Eventually the CASL will be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada, but this will take 5-10 years to work it way through the legal system. All this can be avoided by modifying the legislation, to change the opt-in to opt-out policy,, like all the other countries with anti-spam legislation. Until then we will be following the US CAN-SPAM act.

Am I worried about a million dollar fine; No. The departments that run the CASL are underfunded with existing programs, and are probably responsible for running this program with no or little additional resources. They have a website to report spam, and this website will have a long tail of 1 or 2 spam reports due to false positives, and a sharp peak of real spammers. Most will be out of reach of Canadian law, but like in the USA, they will have a few successes, that when start the process towards the constitutional challenge, and the eventual change of the CASL to a opt out system.

I'm in full support of anti-spam legislation, but the legislation must be in balance, to protect consumers, and legitimate business communication at the same time.
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Aug 2, 2001
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lordsoth wrote:
Aug 15th, 2014 8:01 am
We do not send spam, however we send two emails to existing customers. The first is the followup to the order being delivered, that gives return instructions, warranty, and a small promotional message for our other websites). The second letter is to seek permission to send a once every six months promotional email (explicit consent), with links to other websites we own (cross-selling). Technically, this second email is in violation of the CASL, as you cant promote your products in a explicit consent letter. Am i worried, No.
So, from a business perspective you feel it is OK to spam your former customers. This is what CASL is designed to stop. This is spam and you are a spammer. Just because you are not a long-lost Nigerian prince does not make your spam any less of what it is, spam.

I am curious, you keep saying you are not worried about anything, which is fine. But have you looked into the private right of action (when it comes into force)? It seems you have not, and you should. Even if you are not worried about organizations, you should be worried about your disgruntled customers (which every business has).

Further, before you dismiss the fines you should investigate the organizations that will be issuing the fines. The CRTC is quite capable of enforcing these fines and does so all the time.
Member
Jun 8, 2012
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Toronto
This came up yesterday and someone claimed they are giving a grace period (4-5 years??) before they actually start fining companies? any truth to this?
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May 26, 2011
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TrevorK wrote:
Aug 15th, 2014 12:24 pm
So, from a business perspective you feel it is OK to spam your former customers.
I would not object to being his customer. His only violation is apparently that he's promoting other products in an explicit consent letter. I hadn't heard of that rule, but I would not be offended if I received an email from a company I recently made a purchase from asking me if I wanted to subscribe to their mailing list.
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Aug 2, 2001
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amw3000 wrote:
Aug 15th, 2014 2:20 pm
This came up yesterday and someone claimed they are giving a grace period (4-5 years??) before they actually start fining companies? any truth to this?
As far as I know, the part that does not come into effect right away is the personal right of action.

How and when the CRTC decides to fine people will be up to them. While I personally think they will take the route of education for awhile, it is just an opinion of mine.
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Feb 5, 2010
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TrevorK wrote:
Aug 15th, 2014 12:24 pm
So, from a business perspective you feel it is OK to spam your former customers. This is what CASL is designed to stop. This is spam and you are a spammer. Just because you are not a long-lost Nigerian prince does not make your spam any less of what it is, spam.

I am curious, you keep saying you are not worried about anything, which is fine. But have you looked into the private right of action (when it comes into force)? It seems you have not, and you should. Even if you are not worried about organizations, you should be worried about your disgruntled customers (which every business has).

Further, before you dismiss the fines you should investigate the organizations that will be issuing the fines. The CRTC is quite capable of enforcing these fines and does so all the time.
This is confusing? So what is your definition of 'Spam' based on your reply above?

To my understanding, if the existing customers give explicit consent and 're-opt-in' to stay on the list then the business can continue marketing to them (whether it be nurturing, up-selling/cross-selling etc.).
Banned
Nov 21, 2010
310 posts
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well, I still receive a lot of letter from Groupon or living social even I don't consent them anymore after the anti spam law, I am sure that there are still many ways that corporate company can evade or manipulate the law at different levels, which is kind of normal !
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May 26, 2011
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Those two seem to be pretty reputable. After unsubscribing, I've received no mail from them. Did you try to unsubscribe?
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Aug 2, 2001
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Abel4Life wrote:
Aug 16th, 2014 4:40 pm
This is confusing? So what is your definition of 'Spam' based on your reply above?

To my understanding, if the existing customers give explicit consent and 're-opt-in' to stay on the list then the business can continue marketing to them (whether it be nurturing, up-selling/cross-selling etc.).
I will be completely honest, my definition of spam does not matter. What people need to be concerned with is what CASL defines as spam.

The problem with the example above is the customer is sent an email to opt-in. In an ideal world, the merchant would obtain consent before the order/with the order, and then they can continue to send them spam whenever they want (or until they opt out). The challenge is, you cannot send an email for the purpose of obtaining consent to spam. This is why you have most likely received quite a few "opt-in" emails prior to July 1.

Most companies have not kept track of the explicit consent, and this is where they are running into trouble because in the past they have not been keeping track of this. In a properly run business, this consent should have been stored and there would be no problem. The only outstanding item would be to ensure you have problem pieces in the footer (unsubscribe, etc).

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