Ahhhh, what does that CASL Stuff mean?!?
Breaking it down to its simplest form, unless you have a type of consent or permission, you can’t have any form of communication that promotes or engages in commercial activity. The legal definition of Commercial Electronic Messages*1 is “any electronic message that encourages participation in a commercial activity, regardless of whether there is an expectation of profit”.
Ask yourself this simple litmus test, “Is this electronic message intended to encourage commercial activity (of any kind)?” If the answer is “yes”, then you are dealing with a commercial electronic message subject to CASL’s rules. There are many examples of what constitutes commercial activity that can be found in the legislation.
After reviewing the information, we got the sense they are targeting companies brazenly disregarding the legislation. It enforces the best practices of those early adopters using double opt-ins, accurate contact information and unsubscribe features for e-newsletters, communication for warranties, and ongoing purchases etc. If you are already embracing these policies, compliance with the new legislation will be an easier journey than those who have ventured down the "click to opt-out” path of subscription. We see it as a process that is looking to clean-up spam and force adoption of consumer-friendly CEM practices.
What Types of Communication Platforms and Devices Are Subject to CASL?
The most common platforms impacted by CASL include, but are not limited to:
- Email Addresses – consent is required
- Contact Forms – consent is required (e.g. if you use contact forms for lead generation on your website, you are allowed only one interaction to respond to the inquiry and then express consent is required to continue the discussion)
- Text Messages – consent is required
- Social Networking Accounts – this one is a bit of a grey area given some of the functions and features of the various platforms (e.g. on Twitter there needs to be a link to your website and your CASL Policy). More details from CASL are to follow for social media.
Before you can send a message, three components must be completed or accompany it. They include:
- Identification information
- A functioning unsubscribe system