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Do you have CASL consent?

Do you have CASL consent?

Posted on: August 15, 2017
Author: Staff

It’s hard to sit down and write a simple email these days without someone asking: “do you have CASL consent?”

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, or CASL, came into effect in 2014 to clean up inboxes across the country. This makes email less of a hassle for everyone. But it also makes the lives of business owners slightly more complicated.

That’s because the legislation requires that businesses have consent before sending out any commercial electronic messages (CEMs). CASL defines a CEM as anything that suggests or encourages a commercial action, like information about sale or a coupon. The penalties for violating CASL can be pretty serious. It’s in your interest as a business owner to follow the rules.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get, store and keep consent so that you never face a CASL fine of any size.

  1. Identify if and how you are sending CEMs. Do you have existing implied or express consent from your audience to send these messages?
  2. Develop a plan to address any gaps in your “consent coverage.” This could be done through a click box on an intake form. The line should read something like “Yes, I want to receive electronic communications from ATB Financial.” Many businesses run promotions to collect CASL consent, offering discounts to customers who fill out the consent form.
    When requesting consent you must provide:
    1. The name of your organization
    2. A mailing address as well as a phone number, web address or email address where the person can get more information
    3. The identity and contact information of any third party used to obtain consent
    4. A simple unsubscribe option
  3. Store the consent in a safe place. There are many e-newsletter systems that can store this data for you. Mailchimp is one popular choice. You can also do this through traditional email—if you do, make sure each consent form is saved. You need to be able to produce a specific one if anyone questions that they gave you consent.
  4. Make sure everyone who is using, saving or connecting with the data in any way is trained on why it's important and how it needs to get saved. Losing or deleting even one email could have big consequences.
  5. Play it safe—make sure you cross reference your mailing list with your consent list before sending any CEMs. You need to be able to demonstrate to a third party when each recipient consented to receive your message. Remember: under CASL, you require express or implied consent to send CEMs.
  6. Research and understand the CASL rules. Best practices will vary depending on the nature of your business. For example, ATB is allowed to contact customers without consent if we’ve updated a product they have with us.
To read more about CASL and how it affects you here, head here. ​​​​​