The first phase of Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) came into effect on July 1, 2014. If your organization does business in Canada and uses email, you need to know about this new legislation. While some exemptions were made for registered charitable organizations, this law will apply to all nonprofit organizations.
The information provided below is a starting point for your organization. Consulting with key regulatory sites for complete information is recommended.
SPRA has updated its communications processes and procedures to ensure that all our communications are in full compliance with the law. We have converted our e-communications to a format that offers an Unsubscribe option.
Here’s what you need to know about Canada’s Anti-Spam Law:
1. The law does not prohibit you from sending electronic communications, but in order to send any Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM) you must meet these three (3) requirements:
- Consent: You must have expressed or implied consent to send a message.
- Identification: Clearly and simply identify yourself and anyone on whose behalf the message is sent by including information such as name, organization, address, phone number and email.
- Unsubscribe Mechanism: In every message you send, you must provide a way for recipients to unsubscribe from receiving messages in the future.
2. What is a Commercial Electronic Message (CEM)?
Any email, text, instant message, tweet or any other electronic message that as part of its purpose encourages the recipient to engage in “commercial activity.” Even if there is no profit involved, it still counts as commercial activity.
3. What does “Implied or Expressed Consent” mean?
Expressed consent is when an individual gives you permission to send them any type of message, including CEMs.
Implied consent assumes permission based on an existing relationship between an individual and your organization. This can include instances where an individual has:
- Donated to you in the last two years (either cash or in-kind contributions);
- Volunteered for you in the last two years;
- Been a member of your organization in the last two years;
- Entered into a contract with your organization in the last two years;
- Purchased a good or service from you in the last two years; or
- Made an inquiry about your commercial offerings in the last six months
It is important to note that a message asking for consent is itself a CEM. If you send such a commercial electronic message (CEM) and do not recieve a response, you may no longer send CEMs to that email address, as of July 1, 2014.
We highly suggest sending a Consent Form to your contacts to recieve their expressed consent.
4. What kind of “Unsubscribe Mechanism” do I need to provide?
The unsubscribe option is key to establishing due diligence and responding to any complaints made against you. It does not have to be a technically advanced option. Asking people to reply to your message with the word “unsubscribe” is sufficient to comply. However, many e-newsletter services, such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact, include unsubscribe options in the body of their emails.