Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, also known as CASL, is a strict privacy legislation that applies to commercial electronic mail (CEM)..
It’s a term that triggers a little bit of concern in the hearts of Canadian email marketers and communicators. And it’s for a reason; it’s not like we could ignore privacy laws either.
The goal of CASL is to protect the personal data of Canadians. For companies that rely on email marketing campaigns, the law means adjusting your strategy to comply with CASL.
And you can achieve that by just using a CASL compliant email software.
Based on our experience simplifying CASL compliance for Canadian organizations, we’re sharing how you can easily keep your mailing list CASL-friendly while maintaining success in your marketing campaigns.
In this article, you’ll learn about:
- What is CASL compliance
- How CASL affects email marketing
- Expressed consent and implied consent: what’s the difference
- 7 CASL consent status you must learn about
- 8 Reasons why you need a CASL compliant email software
- How to use CASL compliant email software and manage consent
Here we go.
What is CASL Compliance?
CASL stands for the Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation that went into effect on July 1, 2014.
It’s an anti-spam law that applies to electronic messages (emails, SMS) that companies and organizations send as part of their commercial activity.
Regardless of your geolocation, CASL applies to Canadian and global organizations that send electronic messages to Canadian contacts.
This means if you’re running a business from Australia and have Canadian email addresses in your database, you must comply with CASL.
As defined in the legislation, CASL applies when these two elements are present:
- Sending commercial electronic messages (CEM).
- Sending CEM to an electronic address in Canada.
This includes Emails, SMS, and other messaging to mobile phones and devices.
How CASL Affects Your Email Marketing
Most compliance laws dictate that you must include an opt-out option in your commercial emails and allow your contacts to manage, delete, or update their contact data.
CASL requires more than that.
Under CASL laws, you must acquire explicit documented consent or have implied consent before you send your emails.
Note that there are exceptions; not every email sent is subject to CASL.
Explicit consent means during the opt-in, the contact clearly understands and accepts to receive emails from your organization.
CASL requires you to document consent, either implied or express.
Expressed consent and implied consent: what’s the difference?
In CASL, not obtaining contacts’ consent is considered malpractice, which can result in CASL fines.
Consent is one of the most crucial factors in Canadian email marketing.
The key to managing consent is to keep records to prove contacts’ consent.
Use a a Canadian email software that handles the nitty-gritty of CASL, while you just focus on managing and growing your organization.
This can save significant amounts of time so keeping track of consent changes and rolling expiry dates is automated and doesn’t have to be done manually.
You can collect the consent of contacts in two ways, through implied consent or express consent.
CASL expressed consent
Expressed consent means that the recipients of your emails clearly stated that they’d like to receive your emails through a CASL compliant opt-in form.
Obtaining expressed consent is a high asset for your email marketing because this type of consent doesn’t expire.
CASL implied consent
Implied consent means that you obtained the email address of the recipient based on a transaction or an inquiry.
The transaction can be:
- Contact makes a purchase,
- Contact requests a quote,
- Contact downloads a lead magnet, etc.
An inquiry could be as simple as asking for a quote or filling out a “contact us” form.
Implied consent applies to contacts who engaged in a transaction with your organization or made an inquiry without providing expressed consent.
Implied consent based on transactions expires 24 months after obtaining. Implied consent based on inquiry expires 6 months after it was obtained.
Use Envoke to send automated consent reminder emails and turn your implied consent to expressed consent.
7 CASL Consent Statuses You Must Learn About
As a company or an organization sending emails to contacts in Canada, your first step to CASL compliance is understanding consent status.
Rely on your email provider to understand the consent status and learn about contacts that you can send emails to.
Here I simplified for you the 7 CASL consent examples to satisfy CASL requirements.
1. Express consent
When you have contacts’ expressed consent, you can send them commercial emails. However, the express consent should be obtained and documented.
Consent on these contacts does not expire unless they unsubscribe.
2. Implied consent – Based on inquiry
Implied consent based on inquiry is when a contact submits a form without providing express consent. You’re allowed to send commercial emails to these contacts before their consent expires.
This type of consent is time-limited; it expires six months after the opt-in date.
Consider asking your contacts to confirm consent to prevent your email list from shrinking.
This can be done simply by adding a consent checkbox to the form. The exception is for sales forms where the presence of a consent checkbox can distract visitors from the main goal of the form. For this reason a consent checkbox for sales forms is not recommended.
3. Implied consent – Based on transaction
Suppose a customer fills in a form to purchase your product without providing express consent.
This means a contact completes a purchase process without checking the express consent checkbox during the checkout.
Under CASL regulations, you’re allowed to send emails to contacts in this consent status, but only for a limited time.
Implied consent based on transaction automatically expires 24 months after the purchase date.
Once the consent expires, you’re not allowed to send emails to these contacts.
Each contact in your database can have a different expiry date. Managing these rolling expiry dates is a key requirement when you’re using an email marketing software like Envoke.
4. Implied consent – No expiry
As expiration dates bound implied consent, there are cases where implied consent doesn’t expire.
An example is members of organizations such as alumni or certain associations where opting in to receive emails isn’t required; simply being a member assumes acceptance of receiving emails from the parent organization.
For example, if you’re doing email marketing for educational institutions, your CASL compliant email software allows you to send emails to members of your organization or association.
5. Expired consent
Expired consent is when your contacts’ implement consent expires six months or two years after the opt-in date.
You’re not allowed to send emails to contacts with expired consent. And doing the opposite, and you risk facing CASL fines.
You should keep track of your contacts’ implied consent expiration dates to make sure you play by the rules.
Use CASL compliant email software such as Envoke to:
- Learn about the consent expiration dates of your contacts.
- Monitor consent status with informative dashboards.
- Automatically send consent expiry reminder emails.
- Upgrade expiring consent to expressed consent.
6. Consent not provided
Consent not provided means that you neither have express nor implied consent.
This case is mostly applicable if you’re importing contacts with unknown consent.
It’s self-explanatory; consent is not provided and not documented. This means that you are not allowed to send any emails to contacts with not provided consent status.
7. Revoked consent
Unlike implied consent, revoked consent is not expired due to inaction.
Revoked consent is when contacts revoke consent themselves.
And when doing email marketing in Canada, you are not allowed to send emails to contacts who revoked consent.
8 Reasons Why You Need a CASL Compliant Email Software
For organizations that are continually growing their email list, it’s almost impossible to keep track of the consent status and consent expiration dates.
Manually managing your consent status will require tons of messy Excel sheets and hundreds of hours. And the error will still be a possibility.
Use a CASL compliant email software to automatically manage your contacts’ consent and send emails only to contacts you’re allowed to send emails to.
Here are 7 reasons why you should consider using CASL compliant software.
1. Monitor consent status
If you do not keep a close eye on your consent expiration dates, you risk sending emails that you’re not supposed to. And that can lead to paying a bunch of CASL fines.
Use Envoke CASL consent management software to pass all the messages you send through a CASL compliance filter that checks if each recipient in your target list has a valid consent status.
If the consent is valid, the email will be sent. If not, the email won’t be sent.
This will eliminate any risk of sending emails to contacts with non-valid consent status.
2. Document and record contacts’ consent
CASL doesn’t only require you to receive contacts’ consent, but you’re also required to document it.
A CASL compliant email software stores your contacts’ consent data with dates, source, expiration dates, etc.
Envoke keeps a log of all consent changes for each contact record because your documented consent is the proof of your eligibility to send emails.
3. Create CASL compliant opt-in forms
A CASL compliance plan doesn’t only rely on who you send emails to. It also requires specific information that must be provided on the signup form.
Here is the information that you must include in your opt-in form:
- Clearly indicate what you’re asking contacts to opt into.
- Indicate that the recipient can unsubscribe at any time.
If you’re generating leads in Canada, I recommend using a Canadian email software that supports compliant opt-in forms.
4. Segment your contacts
With the help of a CASL compliant email software, you can segment your email marketing list into four consent categories and make notes on each of the contact records stating:
- When the contact joined your email list.
- The source of the opt-in.
You can use this data to send personalized and targeted email campaigns.
According to Experian, 50% of companies increased interaction within email by increasing personalization.
5. Send automated confirmation emails
After placing an order or joining an email list, subscribers hold a lot of thoughts on whether their order is through or not, if payment is accepted, did their subscription go through, and what’s the next step.
Send confirmation emails to your new contacts to reassure them and ease their concerns. It improves the overall experience of your business.
6. Automate consent expiry reminders
Implied consent for Canadian contacts expires 6 months (from an inquiry) or 24 months (from a transaction) after the opt-in date.
After consent expires for a contact, you cannot send emails to them anymore.
To minimize the loss of contacts due to the expiry of consent, you can send automated reminders to contacts whose implied consent is about to expire to ask them to confirm their subscription.
You can also place reminders in emails that ask contacts to confirm consent if they haven’t already done so. You can do this manually but the better alternative is to use smart reminders that are automatically hidden shown once express consent is obtained.
7. Focus on engaging your contacts and making sales
Once you establish a CASL compliant email marketing strategy, you hand out all the compliance management work to the software and spend your time growing your business.
Choose the right software to manage and automate your compliance requirements; it helps you play by the rules and keep your business safe from CASL fines.
8. Send mandatory communications
Mandatory communications are emails that need to reach the inboxes of everyone on your list – regardless of their consent status. Which means even unsubscribed contacts need to receive these emails.
Examples are recall notices, emergency messaging, etc. – these emails are exempt from CASL’s consent requirements.
The problem is that most email marketing software automatically excluded unsubscribed contacts from receiving emails. It’s simply not possible to reach these contacts.
Envoke’s mandatory communication feature lets you designate select messages as “mandatory” and these emails are sent to every contact even if they are unsubscribed.
How to Use CASL Compliant Email Software and Manage Consent
Envoke is a Canadian email marketing software that offers advanced automated CASL compliance tools, personalized emails, AB testing, email autoresponders, and more.
Since the Canadian Anti-Spam Law went into effect in 2014, Envoke has been dedicated to providing its customers with advanced CASL compliance features.
It handles the nitty-gritty of CASL, while you just focus on managing and growing your organization.
Here is how Envoke helps your business grow while staying CASL compliant.
Create CASL Compliant opt-in forms:
Create your CASL compliant form in Envoke, where you’ll access a fully customizable form builder.
You can design your form to match your brand and website, and you can seamlessly embed it into your website.
Here is a quick preview of Envoke’s drag and drop form builder.
Monitor your contacts’ consent status:
You don’t have to run through multiple Excel tabs and sheets to learn about your contacts’ consent status.
Envoke provides you with an easy-to-understand consent dashboard for you to monitor different consent status.
Other email marketing software don’t make a distinction between implied and express consent.
Every email campaign you send using Envoke will go through the consent filter and it will be sent only to contacts with a valid consent status.
Envoke prevents you from communicating with subscribers who removed their consent.
Automate consent expiry emails
As implied consent is time-limited, Envoke provides automated consent expiry reminder emails sent to contacts whose implied consent is about to expire.
You can customize the consent reminder emails or direct contacts to the consent and preferences page where they can express their consent.
Although CASL Compliance can seem overwhelming at first, these simple tips I shared with you can help you be on the right side of CASL.
Are you looking for a new CASL compliant email software?
If so, then switch to Envoke.
With Envoke, you can only send email campaigns to subscribers that have opted-in to receive them. You don’t have to worry about sending campaigns to people without valid consent status – it’s not possible.
Sign up for free and see Envoke in action