CRTC getting tough on spammers starting July 1st

The number of unsolicited messages that any of us receive daily has skyrocketed. Some are outright trying to sell us stuff. Some try to trick us into letting them into our bank accounts. Some are malware delivered in emails, or programs, or music downloads that compromise the functionality of our computers. They range from annoying to downright destructive.  From this perspective, Canada’s new anti-SPAM legislation will serve to protect consumers and will hopefully provide some measure of relief from the daily attack of SPAM email.

This legislation has serious implications for any marketers involved in email marketing. It has the power to drastically change how you market and sell your products, because it applies to all electronic messages including email, text and instant messaging. Under the new legislation, marketers need both Opt-In an Opt-Out features in their online marketing content. The new law defines and differentiates consent, as “express” and “implied”, and there are time constraints on each, putting a much heavier burden of responsibility on marketers.

Canada’s new legislation is the toughest in the world. Penalties are high. While administrative penalties for non-compliance are up to $10,000, summary conviction offenses come with a fine of up to $100,000 for the first offence, and up to $250,000 for any subsequent offence. It is clear that the CRTC wishes to get tough on the most egregious offenders. The law is comprehensive and complex, and it will undoubtedly be challenged in the courts. It remains to be seen how exceptions will be defined over time. In the meantime, Marketers must take action quickly to be compliant. Permissions must be in place as of July 1st. Once that date is passed, if you have not secured permission, it will be too late and your email marketing will be in contravention of the new law.

Stay tuned for more advice on how to prepare for this new legislation.