Canadian Anti-Spam Law (S.C. 2010, c. 23) is coming into effect very soon (July 1, 2015) in its first part with the final part coming into force July 1, 2017.
The law is actually relatively straight-forward especially if you have been following best practices (and the CAN-SPAM act down in the States) and should require few changes in any e-commerce business dealings. For most e-commerce companies, the area they should be most concerned with are ‘commercial messages’.
Commercial messages are defined by asking oneself Is one of the purposes to encourage the recipient to participate in commercial activity?
When determining whether a purpose is to encourage participation in commercial activity, some parts of the message to look at are:
- the content of the message
- any hyperlinks in the message to website content or a database, and
- contact information in the message.
If you are sending a CEM, you need to comply with three requirements. You need to:
(1) obtain consent,
(2) provide identification information, and
(3) provide an unsubscribe mechanism.
Pretty straight-forward for the most part. Now, about obtaining consent…
Consent can be obtained via implied or express consent. Implied consent boils down to the individual having provided you with a way to contact them / have contacted / bought from you before. Now, consent is tricky so I’d recommend you read the entire bulletin yourself since frankly, it makes no sense to summarise a sumary.
However, one thing to note – you can’t get express consent via a pre-checked box anymore. That’s right, you need to opt-in customers, not use an opt-out method which is allowed under CAN-SPAM. So, one major change.
Abandoned Cart E-mails
One major promotional method used by some e-commerce businesses are abandoned cart e-mails. However, under the new regulations this is a commercial electronic message and since no purchase has been made, there is no existing commercial relationship. Which means that you don’t have implied consent, which would make abandoned cart e-mails illegal.
Fun isn’t it? So, turn it off before 2017 when you can be fined for up to a million a person.