Since coming into force in 2014, Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) has greatly changed the way you can communicate with your customers and prospects. Even though its primary purpose was to punish those who send spam, in fact all companies in the country are affected.
Since the inception of CASL, we have been lobbying to encourage the federal government to change it to include SMEs.
CASL, a big source of concern
Business owners like you are right to be concerned: CASL is very vague and general and it is difficult to find clear information to comply with it. But, if you do not respect it, you expose yourself to exorbitant fines.
Many of you complain about it:
- It is too complex and its repercussions are unclear
- The costs to comply with them can be very high
- The penalties are too severe
- It greatly complicates communication with potential customers
CFIB is your ally
We did not wait for CASL to come into effect to defend your interests. We met with officials from Industry Canada and Innovation Canada, officials from the CRTC (the agency that enforces the Act), ministers, professional associations and legal experts to voice your concerns.
Here is what our efforts have reported to you at the moment:
- You can send an introductory email to a potential client that has been recommended to you.
- Former Industry Canada Minister James Moore confirmed that the Act only targets spammers and spammers (but still affects your business).
- One of the most worrying provisions that would have exposed you to prosecution - in addition to the fines to be paid - was suspended indefinitely!
- We have partnered with Cyberimpact , a Canadian e-mail platform that simplifies compliance.
In September 2017, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains asked the Industry Committee to undertake a review of CASL. We participated in the Committee's consultations and presented your concerns to the government. We also participated in the CASL audit by the government.
Following the publication of the Committee's recommendations in December 2017, the government announced that it would amend CASL. In fact, he repeated several of our recommendations, including:
- Clarify some confusing aspects of CASL, such as implied and express consent.
- Analyze the nature of business-to-business communications to see if they fit the definition of "commercial e-mail".
- Increase CASL information for business owners.
Read the government response to the Committee's recommendations.
Resources to help you understand CASL
We continue to fight some parts of CASL, but we must not forget that it is still in force, so you must continue to respect it. Our consultants have written a detailed guide to help you comply. Our webinar on email marketing in the CASL era is also very useful for learning how to manage your emails without fear of getting a salty fine!