This post originally appeared on Newswire.ca
Being CASL compliant should be top of every email marketer’s priority list and as soon there will be no more time for excuses. July 1st 2017 will see full CASL enforcement and the Private Right of Action provisions will come into effect.
With just over 230 days left before this deadline, we spoke to Derek Lackey, President of Direct Marketing Association of Canada, to get some expert tips as to how your company can take the necessary steps to ensure you are CASL compliacompnt in the coming months.
First thing first: who is responsible for CASL?
Lackey remarks that it is “senior officers of the company” that are responsible for remaining complaint and they can be personally responsible for the fines if they are found in violation of the law. The CRTC is not shy to lift the corporate veil.
What should we prepare for in 2017?
2017 sees the Private Right of Action provisions kick in. Essentially, this allows individuals to enforce CASL. Should an individual think that they have received a CEM (commercial electronic message) that they have not given consent for, they can seek actual and statutory damages. Brands are already anticipating class actions when this provision comes into play.
What should you do if you are in violation?
You have over 230 days before the full CASL enforcement comes into play, so use this time wisely and get your email marketing house in order. If you are contacted by the CRTC for being in violation of the anti-spam legislation, work with them and cooperate.
A recent DMAC workshop, examined the five stages of CASL Compliance and set out the below steps to help you become compliant;
Begin with a thorough examination of your existing lists and email marketing process. Who is on your list? In order to be complaint you need to know (and prove!) the source of every individual on your list. Whether they are express or implied consent, knowing is not sufficient: you need to prove it.
If you are claiming “conspicuous publication”, that is an email address is publically displayed on a website, a screen-grab may be required to evidence this.
Using your current email practices, design your email procedure. Lackey recommends detailing the goals and objectives of your email marketing program as well as how and why your organization uses email.
“Think it through and then put it in writing,” recommends Lackey.
Write it down.
Lackey explains, “When I consult with companies, they often say they are CASL compliant but when I ask to see their email procedures and policies manual, they don’t have one.”
If there is one thing that you can do today to help ensure you are CASL compliant, prepare and document your email policies and procedures within a written manual. Without having your email marketing procedures and policies in a written document, you are simply not compliant.
The burden of proof is on the organization to prove that they have made every effort to remain compliant and in real-time, you must be able to prove your relationship with each individual on the list.
“You may know how they got on your list, but if you can’t prove it, it is completely redundant.”
The email marketing technology used by your organization should tie into this and work to provide real-time updates to the list.
Including CASL training as part of your new staff onboarding process is the final stage of ensuring you are compliant. Any staff member who will be involved in an email marketing campaign at any capacity must be trained in the entire process. Lackey recommends documenting the training, the attendees and the dates. Training should be held annually if not every six months.