Are your email messages affected by this law?
If you send email to recipients that live in Canada, this law applies to you. IP records, phone numbers, and domains can reveal the location of your recipients. For instance, you can conduct a country-wide domain check for .ca domains — .ca is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Canada. However, keep in mind that many Canadian companies use .com or other domains, so you may have to check your IP records.
What you need to know about this law
If your email messages are affected by this law, here's what you need to know:
- You must have clear consent, express or implied, to send bulk email to Canadian email addresses. Keep your records in the event you need to prove that you have consent.
- If you do not have express consent, you must get it by July 1, 2014. Implied consent refers to people who have purchased a product from you within the last 24 months.
- Your emails must have a functional unsubscribe mechanism and you must remove recipients from your list no later than 10 days after they request to be unsubscribed.
- Your mailings must contain your contact information.
- If people sign up for your list via an online form after making a product purchase, the check box to opt-in for your list must not be be checked by default.
As with the U.S. anti-spam law, there are exceptions for transactional messages. However, unlike the U.S. law, which accommodates for a message's primary intent, the Canadian anti-spam law does not allow you to put promotional content inside a transactional message. This means that you cannot encourage recipients to check out your other products or services, or include anything with the intent of selling inside a sales receipt email or other transactional message that you send.
CASL applies to commercial email messages (CEM) which are defined as messages that "encourage participation in commercial activity." Newsletters may or may not be considered CEMs depending on their content. If they contain ads or anything that leads to solicitation for money, they can be considered CEMs.