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Tips on CASL compliance and how to avoid being fined

Complying with the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is a tricky business.

On July 1, 2014, Canada enacted the CASL to curb rampant electronic and SMS spamming. It established five types of consent a consumer must provide before receiving an advertisement:

  • Personal relationship
  • Express consent
  • Implied consent for businesses
  • Implied consent for non-business relationships
  • Conspicuous B2B consent

Without these approvals, a company’s message could be considered spam.

Derek Lackey, managing director for Newport Thomson, spoke at the DX3 tradeshow in Toronto on March 10 to share some tips to avoid being hit with a CASL violation.

In recent years, Canada, along with the rest of the world, has seen a surge in the number of SMS spam and call scams. The CASL has been updated to specifically address this problem.

Although relatively unenforced, Lackey said that just having an anti-spam law is working. In 2019, the single largest fine was $100,000 made to the CEO of nCrowd, a social commerce platform. According to the CRTC notice of violation, the CEO was held personally responsible for allowing their email advertisements to omit a functional unsubscribe button, which violated CASL. The company announced foreclosure soon after.

But just because there haven’t been any major cases does not mean that the law is overlooked. Lackey said that if enough people set off an alarm bell, the CRTC will take action.

Because the CRTC needs to enforce compliance, Lackey said communication is key when the commission asks for proof of consent.

“The ones they [CRTC] hate are…

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