CRTC Issues CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Law) Regulation Guidelines

So on the heels of the IAPP Privacy Academy 2012 here in San Jose, CA, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) yesterday issued two important guideline documents related to their previously-published Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) regulations that we’ve all been waiting for.

Guidelines on the interpretation of the Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC) and Guidelines on the use of toggling as a means of obtaining express consent

Now, for the the purposes of readership being more in email marketing I am only going to go through those points that would have an impact on those sorts of processes. I will hit on the major points of both guidance documents.

  • CRTC states that express consent must be “opt-in,” meaning no pre-checked boxes. Again, pre-checked boxes are NOT allowed to obtain consent. The Commission considers that in order to comply with the express consent provisions under the Act, a positive or explicit indication of consent is required. Accordingly, express consent cannot be obtained through opt-out consent mechanisms. This follows privacy laws around the European Union.
  • Typing an email address into a field can be taken as an indication of consent (i.e., if the email address is being typed in specifically for the purposes of signing up for a list, there is no need for separate check box).
  • In regards to points above, the CRTC also states that senders should send a confirmation email (notified opt-in).
  • The Commission also considers that a commercial email in the form of a subscription email, text message, or other equivalent form cannot be used to elicit express consent.
  • The CRTC says that service providers do not need to be identified in a commercial electronic message as first thought, so long as they do not have a role in content or choice of consumers. A person would be sending on behalf of another person where they deliver content of an advertisement to their own subscribers, such as a list rental or newsletter. In such a case, all advertisers would need to be identified.
  • They cleared the definition of mailing address as a “valid, current street (or civic) address, postal box address, rural route address, or general delivery address.”
  • The CRTC also said that unsubscribe landing pages are ok. The page can allow a user to choose whether to unsubscribe from all or some messages from the sender
  • A request for consent must “not be subsumed in, or bundled with, requests for consent to the general terms and conditions of use or sale. meaning you can’t say that by buying this product you will be getting commercial mails
  • Regarding consent obtained in writing, the CRTC says thins like “checking a box on a web page to indicate consent where a record of the date, time, purpose, and manner of that consent is stored in a database; and, filling out a consent form at a point of purchase.” are ok.

Take some time folks to review these changes and the linked documents. They have great examples as images on what you can and can’t do.

Thank you to my good friend Shaun Brown at the nNovation law firm in Canada for helping summarizing CRTC’s Guidelines for the world.


Don’t Just Send, Deliver!

Dennis Dayman

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