The new Canadian Anti-Spam legislation now requires express consent before sending any email. That means that people have to explicitly say they want to receive your emails, by either checking a box or by putting in an email address in a place that clearly states you will be receiving email.
There are exceptions to this:
- Personal or family relationship
- A direct response to an inquiry
- Delivers a goods or service
- Provides a quote or estimate
- Provides warranty information
- Employment relationship benefit information
If you are a business owner and incorporate on-line marketing as part of your business plan, this will be of specific interest for you. There are ways in which you can do business on-line that can shuffle people into the “express consent” group such as:
- You have put a mailing list sign up form on your website.
- The form is clear that people are signing up to receive emails from you and it clearly identifies that your organization is going to be the sender.
- The form in no way tricks people to join your mailing list by having a sneaky pre-checked checkbox that opts them in.
- Upon form submission a welcome email is sent to the supplied address.
- The welcome email contains a confirmation link (for double opt-in) that the new subscriber must click.
- Throughout this process, your email marketing system has captured the date/time of the new sign up, along with the subscriber’s IP address.
- At no point did this subscriber unsubscribe (automatically by clicking a link or by emailing you) or request to be removed from your database.
- If at this point, you feel you have concrete evidence that a subscriber explicitly requested your emails, then you can treat those people as CASL-compliant.
- Create a new segment of your mailing list for these subscribers and make sure they are removed from the “everyone else” group of addresses that are not compliant.
Services such as Tellem (hosted email marketing on Canadian servers) have a double opt-in process (a signup form and then a confirmation link). If you wish to utilize the Tellem service the easiest way to do so is to put a form on your website that allows your customers to sign up for newsletters, etc. then an email is automatically sent out to that customer confirming that they actually do want to be on your list.
If you have a data base of email addresses you should remove any that you know should not be there (ones that were added without any consent) and send an email out to all the other recipients asking them to confirm their interest in still receiving your correspondence. If they do not want to receive future emails from you, offer them the option of clicking on a “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of the emailer.
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