Are You Ready For CASL?

Image From Wikimedia Commons by Christophe Finot.


It’s been coming for a while, but you’ve been busy thinking about other things – such as forming a marketing strategy, setting goals, and acting on your plans. Or maybe you’ve just been cruising Facebook.

Whatever the case, CASL is upon us. CASL (which stands for Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) goes into effect on July 1, 2014 – and it changes everything for marketers.

Well, kind of. First of all, if you’ve been paying attention over the past couple of years, and you’ve been following the rules for CAN-SPAM, then you’re more than half-way there. Two of the biggest requirements of CASL – having a clear unsubscribe option for your email lists and having clear contact information in your emails – will already be met.

Unfortunately for marketers, there’s more. In fact, there’s much more. Some of the new regulations are just common sense (don’t add random people to your email list), but others could potentially be quite onerous. And CASL has some pretty strict penalties too – up to $10,000,000!

And just because CASL is a Canadian law doesn’t mean my American friends can ignore it. CASL covers any email originating from or going to a digital address in Canada – and address includes not just email addresses, but any digital address – including a text message  (it doesn’t cover faxes or telephone solicitations because those are already addressed under other legislation). Where is your email provider located? How many of your customers are mail order customers from Canada? If you collect email addresses at point-of-sale, how many of those customers are from Canada? If you’re a mom and pop in Austin, Texas, probably not many. But if you’re located near a border or in a popular travel destination you may have a lot of Canadian customers, and you’ll need to be aware.

I can’t go into detail about the requirements because, frankly, I’m not a lawyer. What I can do is share a couple of resources with you that I have found helpful. The first is the CASL website; it has tons of information about the law and how you can make sure that you conform. The second link is this webinar that was done by Marketo a couple of weeks ago: Not only does it cover a lot of the highlights, there are also some great checklists provided by the host for you to use in your own business.

If you’ve been paying attention up to now, great! If not – you’ve got 4 weeks to get ready. GO!


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