In today’s highly regulated digital landscape, compliance is a crucial aspect for communications professionals. Compliance means adhering to relevant regulations, understanding potential risks, and being well-versed in data and anti-spam requirements.
As a leading email platform for communicators, Envoke aims to help you navigate these complexities. In this article, we provide a comprehensive email compliance checklist for communicators to ensure you stay on the right side of the law and deliver your message effectively.
Why compliance is important
As communicators, we understand that creating compelling content is your ultimate goal, and compliance may seem like a necessary but unwelcome distraction. However, it’s crucial to recognize that failure to properly manage compliance can undermine your efforts, rendering even the most persuasive content useless. If your communications don’t adhere to anti-spam or other industry requirements, you risk losing your audience or facing penalties.
Your compliance checklist for sending emails in Canada
To help you navigate the complexities of email compliance, we’ve put together a checklist that is especially useful for communication professionals.
Data storage in Canada
Data sovereignty and security are of utmost importance. If you’re a Canadian organization, you’ll want to be aware of regulations and requirements around data storage in Canada. We recommend choosing an email communications platform that stores all data, including customer information, within Canada. This will help you comply with any regulations, including FIPPA (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act), which we’ll cover in more detail.
CASL and FIPPA compliance
CASL (Canadian Anti Spam Legislation) outlines how you must handle communications with recipients located in Canada. You want to be sure you’re adhering to CASL requirements, such as obtaining express or implied consent before sending commercial electronic messages, providing a clear unsubscribe mechanism, and including proper identification in your messages.
Additionally, FIPPA needs to be a major consideration. FIPPA compliance requires your organization to collect, use, and disclose personal information responsibly. Our recommendation is to collect the minimum amount of personal information you need to effectively meet your communication goals.
Envoke’s CASL compliant email software fully automates CASL compliance.
HIPAA vs PHIPA
Handling all personal information responsibly is important, but it becomes even more paramount if dealing with any information related to health care. We recommend you develop a deep understanding of these regulations. including the difference between the US-based HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and the Canadian PHIPA (Personal Health Information Protection Act) to ensure proper handling of health-related data.
It’s important to note that sending emails require only email addresses so uploading health information to an email software is not recommended. By not storing health data in the email platform you’re using you aren’t subject to PHIPA compliance but ultimately this is something your legal team needs to confirm.
Bilingual contact-facing pages and forms
Canada is a bilingual nation. As a communications professional, you must provide bilingual options for your contact-facing pages and forms in order to comply with Canada’s Official Languages Act, which requires federal institutions to offer services in both English and French.
Sending mandatory messages
Depending on the industry you’re in, many communications professionals have a legal obligation to communicate certain information. Many email platforms make this difficult or impossible, as they simply look at the opt-out status of the recipient. But if you have a legal obligation, you need a way to bypass that opt-out.
Ensure you have a mechanism in place to send mandatory messages that are exempt from anti-spam regulations. At Envoke, we make this simple to manage.
Accessibility means making your email content accessible to people with disabilities by following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and incorporating features such as descriptive alt text for images, clear and concise language, and keyboard navigation support.
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) is one of the most stringent pieces of legislation around data protection in the world. It’s critical you familiarize yourself with the GDPR requirements if you’re processing the personal data of EU citizens. This includes obtaining explicit consent, providing clear privacy notices, and having a process in place to handle data subject access requests.
Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)
Privacy impact assessments are a requirement for many public, or quasi-public organizations (as well as some private ones). These typically involve a detailed review of how your organization is ensuring data privacy and protection.
A best practice would be to conduct your own PIA to identify and mitigate privacy risks associated with your email campaigns. This process will help you ensure compliance with privacy regulations and protect your subscribers data.
Envoke is an intuitive and powerful broadcast email solution that helps Canadian communications professionals build and maintain relationships with stakeholders. We’re the top alternative to Constant Contact and Mailchimp in Canada for communications professionals.
With data stored in Canada, full compliance with anti-spam legislation (CASL), and advanced features like mandatory emails and sophisticated list management, you can stop using email marketing solutions and start communicating with Envoke.
Envoke is based in Canada and serves customers across various industries. To learn how customers are seeing success with email communications, check out our case studies page.