The CRTC recently reported that it has received a record number of 50,000+ CASL complaints in just over a month since CASL came into force. This high volume of complaints is a good indicator of how much Canadians truly hate receiving spam. It also demonstrates how important it is that businesses get their CASL compliance right, because the CRTC has made it incredibly easy to complain through a user friendly online form and as the numbers indicate, many Canadians have already participated in the complaints process.
Although CASL came into force on July 1, 2014, it isn’t too late for businesses to improve their CASL compliance. CASL doesn’t ban commercial emails or text messages, of course. But, organizations sending Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs) from or to Canada will need to have secured the consent of those recipients if they wish to send them messages. This is because, as of July 1st, the email messages requesting consent are considered spam.
There are also several exemptions to the law, which is good news for any organization. Your organization may still send emails to existing or potential customers with whom you have an ongoing business relationship, or who may have requested information or lodged complaints about your goods or services. Also exempted are messages sent to enforce a legal right such as a contractual obligation or to collect a debt, or in the case of a third-party referral where that individual has an existing personal or professional relationship with both the sender and recipient, subject to certain conditions.
The key for organizations to remember is that CASL is not just an IT challenge or CRM project, the legislation can significantly impact HR because in many cases, organizations lack any clear, formalized policies governing how their employees market or sell to current or prospective customers. In other words, CASL will create a significant ongoing compliance challenge for many Canadian companies—particularly those with sales employees who manage customer accounts or who conduct regular business-development, networking or promotional activities.
Given Canadians’ sensitivity to receiving spam, you definitely don’t want your organization to be the subject of one of the 50,000+ complaints to the CRTC because you are risking not only potentially high administrative monetary penalties, but demonstrating to your customers or clients that your organization is not compliant with the law. Taking time to assess your organization’s CASL compliance, identifying its importance and taking the necessary steps to comply will go a long way to ensure that you help your organization create a set of sustainable measures that control the transmission of every CEM originating from your organization. These measures will also help ensure that your organization is well positioned to successfully defend against any possible CASL violation, investigation or complaint.
This blog is provided as information and a summary of workplace legal issues.
This information is not intended as legal advice.