CASL: So you think the postponement of the Private Right of Action has bought you some time?

Many organizations perceive the postponement of the private right of action as a reprieve from being CASL compliant. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Fact is CASL has been enforced since July 1, 2014. Just ask Rogers Media, Porter Airlines, Kelloggs, Plentyoffish, Compu-Finder, Blackstone Learning, Budget and Avis Rent a Car or even William Rapanos, the first individual issued a notice of violation under CASL.  They have collectively been fined (or entered into a voluntary undertaking with a financial penalty and an agreement to come into full compliance) approximately $4,693,000. 

Big and small, Corporate and individuals, CRTC has fined $4,693,000 under CASL. And from what we can see in the market, they have only just begun. 

As of July 1, 2017 you cannot email an individual you cannot prove consent for. In order prove consent, you must first understand the 5 Types of CASL Consent.

So for every individual you are sending an email to, you now know:
1. How that someone came to be on your list (the source of their consent)
2. When they did that (date & time stamp)
3. What your current consent relationship is (what consent are you claiming today)
4. Where the PROOF of that consent is stored (what are your processing designed to track and store your proof of consent)

This is for EVERY SINGLE INDIVDUAL on your email list.

Are you still going to insist your organization is CASL compliant? We were granted a 3 year transition period to figure out which individuals needed to be "re-sourced" - in other words, ensure we had proof of consent, whether it was Express or implied. For that 3 year period, email marketing was still a little "gray". As of July 1, 2017, it is black or white. We can hear the loud flushing sound as businesses emailing Canadians eliminate a huge percentage of their list on July 1, realizing they still cannot provide proof of consent. The risk to the business as well as the Officers & Directors is just not worth saving a few bucks by sending illegal emails and knowingly breaking the law.

Your either have proof of consent OR you cannot email that individual.

And that goes for your sales staff as well.
Did you know it is no longer legal to send a cold call email to an individual that you cannot prove consent for? That's right, email is no longer a viable cold calling tool (one could argue it never was really an effective one). Sales staff must once again pick up the phone, send a sales letter (remember those?), send direct mail, meet people at trade shows & conferences, or go and knock on their door. 

No proof of consent, no email.

Did you also know that your sales staff need to have a working unsubscribe in the footer of every email they send?  Even if you can prove consent, you must include a working unsubscribe in every email you send. CASL does not just apply to your bulk email (your email blasts as we appropriatly call them). It applies to individual emails we send as well.

Now every organization must closely examine every individual on their list to ensure they can prove consent.  And before they can do that, they must clearly understand what the CRTC considers consent based on CASL. Sorry if I am ruining your day.

Is your email data list connected to your purchases so you know the date of every customer's last purchase?  You can email them, claiming Implied Consent -  Existing Business Relationship for two years from the date of their last purchase. You are responsible for setting up tracking methods that  allows you to suppress that individual when they reach that 2 year anniversary.

We have chosen marketing automation software to track and suppress as you can automate your re-actions based on your customers and prospects most current actions. Our recommended platforms include CRM, marketing automation and email service provider all under one roof. But everybody has to look at what works for them, based on legacy systems and how you manage and store current customer and prospect data. But that's another article for another day...

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