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What is CASL?

CASL is a new anti-spam law that applies to all electronic messages (i.e. email, text messages) organizations send in relation to a “commercial activity”. Its key feature requires Canadian and global organizations that send commercial electronic messages (CEMs) within, from or to Canada to receive consent from recipients before sending messages.

Who does CASL apply to?

CASL applies to anyone that is sending commercial electronic messages (CEM) in Canada. A CEM is any message that encourages participation in a commercial activity, such as an invitation to try a product, a promotion, special offers or an event. The “message” could be an email, text message, instant message or a message sent via social media (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook).

How do I get permission to send messages to someone?

Consent is required before sending a CEM, either implied or express. The irony is, sending a message to get consent is itself not permitted! The most common way to get express consent is to have a checkbox that the user clicks, accepting the receipt of commercial messages. You can not have the checkbox checked by default, the user must explicitly opt-in.

Implied consent means that it would be reasonable to conclude you have permission to send a CEM based on prior relationships.

A few common cases where you are considered to have consent

  • Someone publishes their email address broadly, without any disclaimer to not contact them, is generally considered to be providing implicit consent.
  • If you have an existing business relationship, typically active in the past 1 year
  • If you are given their business card or email address

What must be included in a CEM to maintain compliance?

  • The sender must be clearly identified (i.e., it must be clear who is sending the information)
  • The message must provide a means to contact the sender
  • You must provide a way to unsubscribe or opt-out from receiving messages. When someone unsubscribes they need to be removed within 10 days

For more information, check out http://fightspam.gc.ca.

This is not meant to be legal advice, but rather tips from a fellow founder.

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About Zensurance

Zensurance is Canada’s leading online commercial insurance broker. We offer a full range of insurance products to small businesses, with a particular focus on digitizing businesses and technology startups. We understand what it is to work with new technology, and know the most common risks of which you should be aware. Based on that (and a lot of analytics), we recommend the ideal insurance coverage for your business.

If you have specific questions about your business insurance, please visit us at www.zensurance.ca or email us at info@zensurance.com and we will find the answers for you.

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