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Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation Threatens Some Lead Generation

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July 03, 2014

Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation Threatens Some Lead Generation

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor

When it comes to effective lead generation and sales, getting to the inbox is the first step in a successful email campaign. Staying in the inbox is equally important, with compliance being of the utmost priority. As brands do more and more advertising online, compliance has become more of an issue.

July 1 is an important date, as it is the initiation of the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). What this means for lead generation companies is getting to know all the ins and outs of compliance and law adherence. Business 2 Community breaks it down for those who are unsure.

For starters, the CASL applies to all who use commercial electronic messages (CEMs). If you have Canadian contacts stored in your database, you better check that you are following compliance laws, even if you’re a U.S.-based business or any type of business outside of Canada. What it comes down to is consent.

This is reminiscent of misunderstood rulings under Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which brought to light the difference between “implied consent” and “expressed consent,” as a U.S. judge said providing a cell number on an application is considered “implied consent.”

In terms of predictive dialing, the FCC (News - Alert) published a more updated interpretation of “prior express consent,” meaning consent “must be obtained via a prior, written and signed agreement specifically stipulating the use of automated or pre-recorded calls and text messages via auto or predictive dialers,” according to a Predictive Dialer report.

CASL says you cannot contact a lead unless consent is given, whereas Can-Spam laws state you get, basically, one chance. Under CASL, businesses cannot send a CEM without express consent to do so, unless either an exception is available, or implied consent is permitted through specifically prescribed circumstances.  

Canadians will have control over who can send them a commercial electronic message or business email. Even with the recipient's consent, companies will have to identify themselves in their emails and provide a way to unsubscribe from receiving further messages.

Sources have uncovered some good news here, however. If businesses can meet the definition of an "existing business relationship" with existing contacts (meaning prior to July 1) and they have sent or exchanged more than one commercial electronic message with the contact as part of that relationship before that date, then they can use implied consent for three years.

So, what are the penalties if one should violate CASL? There’s an administrative monetary penalty of up to $10 million per violation for corporations.

The bottom line? Educate yourself on the new laws. This is not limited to Canadian businesses, so it behooves businesses across the globe with leads in Canada to do their homework and get compliant. The law and your reputation rely on it. 

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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