No, this isn’t an import tax on canned meat products affecting the northern regions. It’s a new law regarding email marketing that will go into effect early in 2013. Are you ready for it?
Many firms that rely on email marketing are not even aware of the new legislation or its penalties for noncompliance. That’s according to the results of a survey conducted by Fasken Martineau last December. The international business law firm asked 92 companies of various sizes and across industries if they were aware of the new rule and its consequences, and found that more than half were not. Those that did know of the policy change included a large segment who didn’t know it came with fines. Marketingprofs shares the details in this article published online. To see the entire survey report, click here. It may not be at the top of your reading list yet, but if your firm violates the terms of the new policy it risks incurring fines up to $10 million!
The law, Bill C-28 or Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), opens up marketers to stiff financial penalties if they send unsolicited commercial email to Canada. It also covers email that originates there or even passes through the country on the way to its final destination. Class action lawsuits are another potential consequence of sending unsolicited commercial email. Unlike US law, CASL requires recipients’ express permission to send marketing communications. Consumers must actively opt in in order to join a mailing list. Providing a method to opt out is insufficient to avoid breaking the law.
Your firm needs to get familiar with the details of the law and establish a plan to ensure you’re compliant to prevent a financial disaster. If you purchase email lists from other sources, be absolutely sure they’ve been compiled with CASL in mind. You also must have your own firm policies in place to stay on the right side of the law.
The survey responses indicated that marketers who knew about the legislation planned to make changes in their communication protocols. 17% expressed an intention to quit newsletters entirely, which seems drastic but would at least guarantee compliance. The same number said they would use social media more heavily for their marketing campaigns to avoid running afoul of CASL’s strict limits. Increasing social media marketing makes sense for a host of reasons, so if you’ve been intending to get on that but hesitating, here’s your extra push, courtesy of the Canadian legislature.
Tell your marketing department, tell your boss, tell your friends, because this anti-spam law has teeth you do NOT want to feel.