Did you know that the laws are changing effective July 1st 2014?
Once the law is in force, it will help to protect Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace. These changes will impact how you communicate electronically with new and existing clients, so take heed!
Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and should not serve as or be considered as legal advice. Simply some must have information to help you get and stay compliant with your client communication.
The risks of not being aware and exercising due caution? Personal fines up to $1 Million and Business fines up to $10 Million. That’s not chump change.
Again, this new law comes into force on July 1st 2014 so read on so that you can prepare.
Here are 3 official links which provide much more detailed information for you as the new laws relate to your business.
The CAAMP Anti-Spam Information Brochure
The Government of Canada’s Anti-Spam Website
The Government of Canada’s FAQ page
Here are some key points that I pulled together from our research.
This legislation applies to any electronic message that is sent. This includes email, text, voicemail, or image message.
These electronic messages are defined as CEM’s (Commercial Electronic Message).
If you are sending a CEM to an electronic address, then you need to comply with three requirements. You must:
(1) Obtain consent,
(2) Provide identification information, and
(3) Provide an unsubscribe mechanism.
Does this apply to social media?
Here is the official verbiage:
An electronic address is defined in CASL as being: an email account, a telephone account, an instant messaging account, and any other similar account.
Some social media accounts may constitute a ‘similar account’. Whether a “similar account” is an electronic address depends on the specific circumstances of the account in question. For example, a typical advertisement placed on a website or blog post would not be captured. In addition, whether communication using social media fits the definition of “electronic address,” must be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending upon, for example, how the specific social media platform in question functions and is used. For example, a Facebook wall post would not be captured. However, messages sent to other users using a social media messaging system (e.g., Facebook messaging and LinkedIn messaging), would qualify as sending messages to “electronic addresses.” *
So, in a nutshell, posting on Facebook is not covered under the law, but sending a direct message to a user is.
This is my interpretation of what you need for your outbound sales strategy on Facebook and LinkedIn to be compliant.
(1) Obtain consent – Send a friend request and have it accepted
(2) Provide Identification Information – Have a properly filled out social media profile and business page that includes your:
– Phone Number
(3) Provide an unsubscribe mechanism – Provide a link to your profile page with instructions on how to “un friend” you and/or opt out of email communications.
It’s Official. The Government says Facebook friends are not real. Yet…
The legislation goes on to state that the law does not apply to “personal relationship.” What does this mean? Doesn’t having someone accept you as a friend on a social media site constitute a personal relationship?
The mere use of buttons available on social media websites – such as clicking “like”, voting for or against a link or post, accepting someone as a “Friend”, or clicking “Follow” – will generally be insufficient to constitute a personal relationship.
A “personal relationship” involves direct, voluntary, 2-way communication. The GiC Regulations set out a non-exhaustive list of factors that should be used to determine whether the relationship is personal (e.g. the sharing of interests, experiences, opinions and information evidenced in the communications; the frequency of the communication, etc.). It is important to note that the definition of “personal relationship” should remain limited to close relationships. This will help prevent potential spammers from exploiting this concept in order to send CEMs without consent.
Also, a “personal relationship” is one that exists between individuals. Legal entities, such as corporations, cannot have a personal relationship. Someone who sends a CEM on behalf of a corporation may not claim to have a personal relationship with the recipient.
At the end of the day, it’s our job to be compliant.
In short, assess your currently marketing initiatives, social media outlets and relationships established therein to ensure that you are compliant before the laws come into force in July. If you are in doubt, be sure to consult with your lawyer if your own research doesn’t satisfactorily prepare you for the changes. If you are found to be at fault, the burden of proof will be on you to prove that you were aware of the laws, and exercised due diligence in all e-communications post July 1st.
Be aware. Be prudent. Be prosperous!
* source: The Government of Canada’s FAQ page