The law, which came into effect July 1, 2014 is amongst the strictest in the world and has had a broad impact on the way many businesses gain consent and communicate with their subscribers. If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of CASL, you can view the full legislation here.
As a Flowmail user, there is a good chance that you send Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM's) and that the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) applies to you, whether you are a Canadian or not, since it applies to any electronic communication being sent to or from a Canadian device. Messages which are simply routed through a computer / sever in Canada are not subject.
A Quick Disclaimer
We are a bunch of email geeks and are not lawyers, therefore this article does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions on compliance specific to your business, we highly encourage you to seek a lawyer who is knowledgeable in the field of CASL and privacy law.
So how does CASL work with email marketing?
Okay, now that we have gotten that out of the way, let's get back to the basics of CASL and how it impacts your email marketing.
Under this legislation, the consequence for sending spam can be extremely harsh, with fines ranging from $1-10M per violation. Currently, it's the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission), the Competition Bureau, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, who may investigate and fine entities who don't comply with CASL.
It should be noted that another part of CASL, the private right of action that was supposed to come into force on July 1, 2017 has been temporarily suspended. This part of the legislation would have allowed anyone to seek litigation against those who do not comply with CASL.
Flowmail and CASL
The good news is that Flowmail was built from the ground up to be CASL compliant and is one of the few platforms to do so natively, especially when it comes to the different kinds of implied and express consent. You still have to follow a few best practices, such as importing subscribers using the proper type and level of consent, but we do most of the hard work for you.
Other services may tout CASL compliance, but it's typically only if you follow very particular practices, such as having explicit opt-in from subscribers. If you happen to miss a step, it can lead to undue risk and the possibility of a steep fine from the CRTC.
Some of Flowmail's CASL features include:
Support for all Consent Types
Flowmail accounts for both express and implied consent so that your marketing campaigns hold more value by reaching a broader audience. It also offers a tools for managing your list properly, with automatic scrubbing of expired consent. Below are the types of consent.
With express consent, a subscriber has provided their permission for you to send communications and you can do so until they unsubscribe. This is certainly the best kind of consent to get from a subscriber.
Implied consent occurs when someone has an interaction with you or your company and it's implied that they would want to continue receiving relevant information for a period of time. There are two ways that consent can be implied. The first, is if someone has a business trancatsion with you or your company (i.e. they make a purchase). In this case, you may send communications for up to 2 years. The second type of implied consent occurs when you receive an inquiry or request for information. In this instance you may send the individual communications for a 6 month period.
Automatic Unsubscribe / List Cleaning
One of Flowmail's most important features when it comes to CASL, is it's ability to manage your subscribers and remove those that have expired under implied consent. Without the automatic unsubscribe feature, it would be extremely difficult to maintain lists containing users who have only provided implied consent.
Compliant Unsubscribe Links
With CASL, it's required that your newsletters contain a simple, quick and easy method for unsubscribing. We have you covered with our single click unsubscribe process.
Recorded Consent Dates
When a subscriber is added to one of your lists, we record the subscription date along with the users other information. This record can be downloaded as part of a list export (to CSV) for safe keeping.
We hope that this quick overview has helped provide you with a better understanding of how to remain compliant with the Canadian Anti-Spam Law and how Flowmail can assist with this.