There’s a new sheriff in town for anyone involved in email marketing in Canada.
Its name is Bill C-28. It’s been setting up shop over the last year. Its main purpose is to enforce the email behaviour that will soon be expected of you.
Since the government has adopted Bill C-28, the new privacy provisions known as Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), good email behaviour is now the law of the land.
At Greenfield Services, we’re not lawyers, but we’ve already begun helping our clients navigate Bill C-28. Most of them have never heard of it. When the legislation passed in December 2010, they were too busy running their organizations to notice. The government and the Canadian Marketing Association are still working out details of how the bill will be implemented. But it’s time to get ready, and the difference between implied and express consent is a good place to start.
- If someone has joined your association, they’ve given you express consent to receive your communications. You’ll have a more satisfied member if you invite them to choose the topics, formats, and frequency of communication they want to receive from you, and periodically remind them that the choice is theirs to make. But under CASL, you’re covered.
- The same could apply to a planner who has a signed contract with a supplier. In the process of securing space at a hotel or contracting an AV company, planners may be deemed to have provided express consent, but the legislation is still a bit vague on that.
- If you meet a potential client or prospective member at a dinner or collect their business card at a trade show, you have implied consent to communicate with them. Since they have not specifically said, “yes, communicate with me,” consent is only implied, and the new law says you can only continue communicating for two years. That means you have to note the date of contact and your database has to track it. Then after two years, you must ask for permission to continue communicating.
The same distinction applies to sponsors, exhibitors, and all your other partners. If they sponsor an event, buy an ad, sign up for a booth, they’ve given you their expressed consent to communicate. If they haven’t signed up to a formal business relationship, the consent is implied, and the two-year clock is running.
On the surface, CASL sounds like a relief for anyone who’s been buried in a deluge of email spam. But implementation is complicated, and there may be database issues your organization needs to consider.