Can I Send This?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Written By
Nicole Bulanda

Expect to start hearing this question a LOT from employees following the implementation of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) on July 1. Let me help you prepare your response.

Is the message a CEM?

CASL regulates the distribution of commercial electronic messages (CEMs). In order to qualify as commercial, messages only need to encourage commercial conduct and do not need to have an underlying expectancy of profit. A great way to ensure compliance is to treat all messages sent through your company email as CEMs.

Do you have permission?

You’ll first need consent to send any type of CEM. CASL defines two types of consent: express and implied.

  1. If a recipient gives you written or oral permission to send messages, you have express consent. This could come from a recipient checking a box on your website, signing a form or leaving a voicemail message for you. Express consent never expires, although a recipient can revoke it at any time by unsubscribing.
  2. If you have a pre-existing business relationship with the recipient, you have implied consent. According to CASL, a business relationship begins as soon as a prospect purchases a product, agrees to a contract or makes a business inquiry.

Implied consent also exists in the case of certain pre-existing non-business relationships. For instance, implied consent exists if the recipient provides contact information and does not indicate that he or she does not want communications, and if the message is directly related to the recipient’s professional role. This could look like an exchange of business cards or finding a prospect’s email address listed on his or her company website.

Unlike express consent, implied consent expires – generally after six months if the prospect does not become a client, or two years if the client does not renew the relationship. Implied consent can also be revoked at any time by the recipient.

It’s going to be really important for your company to track recipient consent type and expiration date (if applicable). CASL puts the onus for proving consent on the sender, and penalties for not complying are serious.

How am I ever going to prospect for new business?

At first, it may feel like the provisions of CASL restrict your efforts to grow your business. However, the more you learn about the law, the clearer it will become that the purpose of CASL is simply to promote good marketing practices – the same practices that the majority of businesses already have in place.

If you work with Zywave, you have access to a few built-in features that will make your compliance with CASL a snap; including the ability to track recipient consent, handle unsubscribe requests and send email messages that automatically include the CASL-mandated content. We also provide our partners with access to a 12-part compliance toolkit that includes the CASL-Compliant Marketing Flowchart, a great document for answering the “Can I Send This” question.  To learn more about how Zywave’s tools can help you comply, leave a comment or get in touch with a Zywave representative.

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