Last year was a landmark year for CASL. There was a lot of activity; notably the end of the grace period, several huge fines, and parliamentary reviews. We’ve followed and tracked all the changes and modifications, particularly how it affects businesses like yours and its impact on email marketing.
Here’s a recap of the last year, what you can expect in 2018, and a few recommendations.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2017:
- March, the CRTC imposes a $15,000 penalty on an individual for violations in committed in 2014
- June, the CRTC issues its first fine to a corporate executive totaling $10,000 for lacking proper unsubscribe mechanisms and procedures
- June, the Canadian government indefinitely suspends a consumer’s right to sue a company for spam
- July, CASL’s grace period ends and the CRTC stiffens up
- October, the CRTC finalizes its decision to Compu-finder and reduces their fine from $1,1 million to $200,000
- October, the Canadian Government, through a parliamentary commission, begins its review of CASL
- October, Certimail partakes in the parliamentary review of CASL
- October, Certimail submits its recommendations of amendments to CASL, to the parliamentary commission
- December, the Canadian Government makes slight modifications to CASL
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2018:
- More requests for information and notices to businesses from the CRTC regarding the proper documentation of implied consent
- More requests for information and notices regarding proper identification information, unsubscribe and complaint mechanisms in SMS messages
- An increase in the number of fines issued
- More outreach and education by the CRTC with respect to the law
- Modifications to the actual name and title of the law
- Modifications to certain articles in the law, especially with regards to those items that are ambiguous has already started this past December
KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THIS YEAR:
- Properly organize and document all the various consent types for all your contacts. A centralized database or CRM is key. Remember to also take into account the expiration of your various consent types (there are several).
- We can’t stress it enough, but a CASL compliance program that meets the 8 requirements of the CRTC, is your sole protection in case you receive a request for information or notice from the CRTC.
- Another way to help reduce complaints is to not only develop a solid email strategy with a focus on your business objectives, but develop a communication strategy that is of pertinence to your audience. The “what’s in it for them” (instead of you) never goes out of style.
- When sending emails, be sure to make the most of segmentation, personalization (based on segmentation and not just a first and last name), and frequency (irregular timing gets higher open rates).
Stay tuned, another update from Parliament is due in the coming weeks.