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Complying With Canada's Anti-Spam Law: Just Ask For Consent

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Thursday January 24, 2013
While there is no shortage of fear mongering about Canada's anti-spam legislation, Ottawa-based law firm LaBarge Weinstein recently demonstrated what most organizations need to do in order to comply with the law as Canada transitions to an opt-in consent requirement for commercial messaging. The key requirement for those companies that have long relied on electronic marketing is pretty simple: just ask for consent. The firm recently sent messages to its current mailing list to obtain opt-in consent for continuing to send commercial electronic messages. The firm notes:

In anticipation of Canada's new anti-spam laws, we would like to ensure that we have your consent to receive our publications, announcements, event invitations, and other communications we send from time to time for the purpose of: (i) sharing information with you; and (ii) establishing, developing and/or managing our relationship with you.
 
Accordingly, if you wish to continue to receive communications from us, please provide the information requested below and click on the "Give Consent Here" button. If we do not receive your consent once the new anti-spam laws have come into effect, we may be unable to continue sending you updates. If you have any questions, or if you wish to withdraw your consent at any time, please feel free to contact us

For thousands of Canadian organizations with mailing lists and active marketing activities, once they ask for and obtain consent, there is no need to focus on exceptions or loopholes in the law. Simply ask your customers for consent - the slow pace of implementation means that all organizations have years to do it - and you've met the major requirement to continue electronic marketing to them in compliance with Canada's new law.
Comments (13)add comment

Crockett said:

...
We all need less span in our lives, lets hope this is more effective than the dismally ineffective do not call list.
January 24, 2013

James Plotkin said:

Good law
I don't think the requirements under the Act will hamper business communications as much as many people think. It will also assure the relevancy of the communications people do receive.

The way I see it, only true spammers need be upset about the introduction of this legislation.

I think the biggest lingering question is how the law will be enforced and to what degree.
January 24, 2013

Brian said:

Dirty little secrets
The problem with this consent requirement is that it will end up revealing the 2 big/dirty little secrets/myths of the direct marketing organizations.

The first is that people want to hear all of this marketing crap. No, people don't want it. When people will have to ask to receive this crap, nobody's gunna do it and so will end the entire industry of spamming (at least in the perspective of Canadians). Or so it should. I hope any hangers on get sued out of business. I for one intend to exercise my right of private action. Maybe I can even make a living at it.

The second dirty little secret/myth is that direct marketing organizations don't want to market to people who don't really want to be marketed to. What a load of crap this is. It makes me feel dirty and violated every time I just hear it. They fully want their crap in front of as many eyeballs as they can get it in front of whether those eyeballs think they want it or not. These marketing scum believe that even if somebody thinks they don't want the ads, if they can show them the ad they might be able to catch the attention of somebody who thinks they don't want it.
January 24, 2013

. said:

...
That may work for soliciting consent in advance of proclamation of CASL. What happens to new clubs, associations businesses, who are forbidden from sending emails to ask for consent under CASL?
January 24, 2013

a said:

...
... along the likes of "." -what happens when the act goes into force and people can't actually send requests for consent?

and

the example in your post doesnt include all the form and content stuff the act requires -so it isnt compliant?! Or am I missing something?
January 24, 2013

Colin said:

Re-consenting once it's in effect
The allure of seeking consent when you're free to contact people with whom you don't have any kind of relationship before CASL comes into effect is big, but the downside is that it looks like Industry Canada's insistance that there be no grandfathering provision will force you to re-consent once it's in effect (or within 3 years). As an organization that had just gone out and sought consent, like LaBarge Weinstein, I'd be worried about list attrition when I have to turn around and ask the same question next year. Seems almost spammy to me.
January 24, 2013

Casey O'Brien said:

Marketing Specialist at LaBarge Weinstein LLP
Thanks for the mention Michael! Although it's still unknown when the new anti-spam laws will actually be enforced, we wanted to ensure that we didn't lose access to our contact list.

As a firm, we typically limit the number of "mass" communications to once a month (event invitations or major news items) and we only send out our newsletter on a quarterly basis. We strive to ensure that we provide content that is relevant and helpful to our contacts, and as such, we've had a 20% response rate to our request for consent! In the world of marketing, these numbers are remarkable.

In order to be compliant with the new laws, there are a number of requirements that aren’t shown above as part of Michael’s blog. If you need help in this area, feel free to contact me cobrien@lwlaw.com and I will put you in touch with one of our IP lawyers.
January 25, 2013

Loren said:

Attorney
Once the law is in effect, it is my understanding that one cannot electronically obtain opt-in consent. So, I'm not sure that LaBarge Weinstein's approach to obtaining consent will be relevant AFTER THE LAW TAKES EFFECT.
January 25, 2013

riz said:

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January 26, 2013

Mikayla said:

...
thank you for sharing this tips, i actually work in www.galaxytext.com . your blog is impressive as i ready it.
January 29, 2013

Mark said:

Very very bad law ! ! !
I am sorry to say, but this is another one of those examples of the government punishing everyone for the sins of a few. Whether we realize it or not, everytime they impose this kind of regulation on all of us, they restict freedom of speech for everyone. The various forms of social media have exploded in the past decade and we've all jumped on board, wanting to be connected. But when the flow of communication washes back on our doorstep, we cry foul. I get lots of spam at my work and we have a simple spam filter to sort things out and most of the unwanted emails don't even get through. The few that do are easy to see and can be easily deleted. We all have this availalbe with our technology provider. This is the small price of freedom of speech.

To me this is no different than going to one store at the mall. To get there, i have to pass many stores with their posters and signs screaming their sales pitch at me. I'm not interested in what they're trying to sell and i guess you could say they don't have my implied consent to advertise at me, but i have to put up with it to get to the store i want to go to because i've entered the mall. Should i expect that we force the store owners to turn all their signs inward so that the implied consent i give must be when i actual walk into a particular store to look at what they are selling?

As i see it, a person, when they go on-line, are stepping into the on-line mall and are therefore giving implied consent to reasonable, civil communication for business or personal matters (but does not include vulgar, profane or bullying content). Our current laws are sufficient. If you don't want to get the communication, don't go to the mall.
February 01, 2013

Mark said:

Just one more thought.
Think of all the snail-mail that's going to be landing in our mail boxes if this goes through. Canada Post will be happy and so will the paper mills!
February 01, 2013

kenzierobin said:

Law Firm Connect
Wonder full Information. Business Lawyer is must in the industries because just because of this everybody can easily get more and attractive info related to business and get know about business laws.

Law Firm Connect

Law Firm Connect
January 23, 2014

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