A Commercial Electronic Message (CEM) is any electronic message that encourages participation in some sort of commercial activity, such as an email that contains a coupon or tells customers or potential client about a promotion or sale that will be taking place. If you’re an organization that sends out CEMs, you’ll need “express consent” from your recipients, although there are certain exemptions that apply. In this blog post, we take a look at some exceptions that apply to CASL, an anti-spam legislature that came into effect on July 1, 2014.
• B2B Communication – CASL applies to all CEMs in a broader fashion. However, the new regulations that took effect in July of this year include exemptions for CEMs sent within an organization and CEMs sent between businesses that have an ongoing relationship. Do keep in mind that the messages that are being sent must be sent by an employee, an authorized, third-party representative, contractor, or franchise and must be relevant to the business, role, function, or duty of the recipient.
• Messages sent to consumers in response to request for information – Let’s say that a consumer visited your website. They filled out a form on your website to receive a phone call or email follow up.
• Messages sent from Outside Canada – This includes messages sent by foreign businesses and internationally based Canadian organizations. That qualifies for a CASL exception.
• Third Party Referrals- For third party referrals to qualify for this exception the messenger must disclose their role and full name of the person who referred them. The referrer must already have an existing relationship with the sender and the recipient.
• Personal relationships – While CASL was not meant for communications sent to family or friends, some critics of the legislation argue that the definitions of personal and family relationships are too narrow. The revised regulations have now broadened these definitions. Now a “personal relationship” can be defined as one where individuals have had voluntary, two-way communications at any point in the past. Based on factors such as the sharing of interests and experiences, the relationship is considered personal, unless the recipient has clearly asked not to receive any CEMs from the sender. The definition of “family relationship” has also been extended so that CEMs can be sent without consent to family members descending from a common grandparent, including aunts, uncles, first cousins, nieces and nephews.
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