SLA Taking Steps to Comply with Anti-Spam Law

SLA staff and leaders are working to bring the association into compliance with a new law that will impose broad restrictions on electronic messages sent to addresses in Canada, home to more than 800 SLA members and the site of SLA’s 2014 Annual Conference & INFO-EXPO.

The law, known informally as Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL), will take effect on July 1. CASL regulates all commercial electronic messages (CEMs) that use text, audio recordings, or visual images to encourage recipients to participate in a commercial activity, such as registering for a Webinar or buying a publication. Anyone who receives such a message MUST have consented to receive it.

CASL recognizes two types of consent: express and implied. Express consent requires CEM recipients to take action—for example, by signing a document, checking a box, or inputting their e-mail address—to give their permission. Implied consent exists in cases where the recipient has been involved in a business or non-business relationship (such as membership in SLA) within the past two years or has engaged in a business transaction or entered into a contract during that same time period. Additionally, the recipient must not have expressed a desire to opt out of receiving CEMs from the sender.

CEMs that are sent within an organization and that relate to the organization’s purpose are exempt from CASL. Communications outside of the scope of the ongoing business relationship will not be exempt if they encourage the purchase of a product or service.

In cases where implied consent existed before July 1, senders of CEMs generally have until 1 July 2017 to reconfirm permission. When asking for consent, recipients must be informed of the types of messages they will be receiving, the nature of these messages (for example, promotional or educational), and the action that needs to be taken to provide consent. Senders must provide an “unsubscribe” option at the end of every e-mail or text message they send.

Detailed information about compliance with CASL will be shared with unit leaders in the next few days. In the meantime, more information is available at http://fightspam.gc.ca/eic/site/030.nsf/eng/h_00230.html.

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