BBB explains why Canada's new Anti-Spam law matters to individuals and businesses
June 3, 2014 - CALGARY, ALBERTA - As of July 1, 2014, Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) will come into effect. New rules about how individuals and businesses communicate and collect information from others will be enforced. BBB explains what exactly will be changed and how businesses will be affected.
What is changing?
- The sending of commercial electronic messages (CEMs)
- The installation of computer programs
- The alteration of transmission data in an electronic message
All individuals and businesses that use email, social media or text messaging as
marketing and communications tools are required to follow the CASL rules. The financial penalties for failing to meet the CASL requirements are up to$1 million for individuals and up to$10 million for businesses.
Sandra Crozier-McKee, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, says even though new legislation requires substantial preparation, the benefits will be worthwhile. "The CASL requirements will help promote an ethical and trustworthy marketplace," she says. "Obtaining proper consent and honestly representing products and services paves a smooth road to marketplace trust."
So, what exactly does this mean?
This new law will prohibit:
- Sending messages without permission. Sending of CEMs without the recipient's permission, including emails and messages to social networking accounts and text messages.
- Delivering data to a different destination than the original, intended
address. Alteration of transmission data in an electronic message,which
results in the message being delivered to a different destination without
express consent.(A process common in phishing scams)
- Installing software without consent. Installation of computer programs
without the express consent of the owner of the computer system or its
agent, such as an authorized employee.
- False advertising. Use of false or misleading representation in the online
promotion of products or services.
- Illegal collection of data. Collection of personal information through
accessing a computer system in violation of federal law (e.g. the
Criminal Code of Canada)
- Address harvesting. Collection of electronic addresses by the use of
computer programs or the use of such addresses, without permission
BBB recommends the following tips when preparing yourself or your business
for the implementation of CASL:
- Review the legislation in detail. Visit fightspam.gc.ca for an in-depth look
at the CASL and its implementations.
- Review your processes for sending out emails, text messages and social media posts. Who are you sending messages to? Do any of your messages
encourage participation in ac commercial activity such as buying a product
or service, taking part in a work shop or class or becoming a paying member?
- Get consent. Do you have proper consent for the people you are currently
sending information to? For the people you plan to send future messages to, do you have the proper systems in place to acquire consent? Anyone
you are sending a CEM to must have agreed to receive such communications
- Include an "unsubscribe" option. Make sure it is easy for people to
unsubscribe or opt-out of receiving CEMs from you or your business.
- Carefully review your recent and future CEMs to make sure you are not
unintentionally being misleading in the representation of your products or services. If you are a BBB Accredited
Business, be sure to review our BBB Code of Advertising.
- Make sure everyone understands. Ensure all of your staff understand the requirements of the new legislation and are properly trained to follow new procedures.
- Stay informed.You can sign up for updates related to CASL at
- # # # -
Marketing and Communication Coordinator, BBB
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay, founded in 1954, is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across North America.
For more information, check out our About Us section.