Bill C-28, Canada’s anti-spam legislation, was recently passed and will come into effect later this year. While its intended target is deceptive forms of spam, Canadian small and medium sized businesses should be aware of purchase email list canada the Act in order to ensure their compliance when contacting leads, networking and developing marketing campaigns. Here are highlights of the important aspects of Bill C-28 that you and your employees need to know:
Definition of Spam
Generally spam is considered to be mass, unsolicited email from unknown or unwarranted senders. However, the new legislation applies to the sending of “commercial electronic messages”, which can encompass email, instant or text messaging and social media messages and other forms that we may not consider to be spam. Many times information that is sent may not be considered to be spam by the sender, but can be viewed as spam by the recipient. It’s important to think of purchase email list canada how the message will be received on the other end before sending. Hopefully, the yet to be released regulations will provide some added details or thresholds to more readily define the scope of this term.
Expressed and Implied Consent
Electronic messages are not considered spam if the recipient consented to receive the message so it is important that you first determine whether or not you have approval from the recipient to send the message. Consent comes in two forms – express and implied.
Expressed consent, as defined in the Act, is what is known as “opt-in” consent, whereby the person or corporation expressly agrees to be contacted before any communication is sent. Usually this would come in the form of a newsletter subscription sign up, adding an email address to a written or electronic list, or checking a box to receive more information. This is a more viable option for business owners because it is less likely that an issue will be raised from those who have clearly indicated interest.
Implied consent has a broader use, which can actually be beneficial to marketers and small business owners, but could also pose to be harder to prove if any issue arises. According to the new Act, implied consent occurs when “[t]he person who sends the message, the person who causes it to be sent or the person who permits it to be sent has an existing business relationship or an existing non-business relationship with the person to whom it is sent;” (Bill C-28 Sec. 9a).
If a customer has purchased wares or services from your business with the past two years, there is considered to be an existing business relationship between you and your customer, which would be implied consent. There is no time limit on the relationship status if the customer has provided expressed consent for future contact. In terms of expressed and implied consent, it’s best to err on the side of caution and try to gain expressed consent for all users when possible.