[author: Margot Patterson]
Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is expected to enter into force in 2013, together with two sets of regulations that will address certain detailed requirements under the Act. Industry Canada Regulations are still underway. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is further ahead: it enacted its Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations in March 2012.
The CRTC has moreover issued two Information Bulletins on its Regulations. The new guidelines address practical aspects of obtaining consent to send commercial electronic messages (CEMs), and providing an effective unsubscribe mechanism.
1. OBTAINING CONSENT
Specific requests for consent must be clearly identifiable to the user and indicate that the user’s consent can be withdrawn at any time. Consent can be obtained orally or in writing, and must be positive and explicit. In other words, it must be “opt-in”.
Acceptable: an icon or an empty toggle box that must be actively clicked or checked.
Not Acceptable: an opt-out mechanism (i.e. unckecking a pre-checked box); a CEM in the form of a subscription email, text message, or other equivalent form to request express consent
2. UNSUBSCRIBE MECHANISM
The unsubscribe mechanism must be consumer-friendly, simple, easy to use, and must be set out clearly and prominently. Under the Regulations it must be capable of being “readily performed”.
Email Example: a link takes the user to a web page where he or she can unsubscribe from receiving all or some types of CEMs from the sender.
SMS Example: the user should have the choice between clicking a link, or replying to the SMS with the word “STOP” or “Unsubscribe”.
For more information, please see:
Guidelines on the interpretation of the Electronic Commerce Protection Regulations (CRTC)
Guidelines on the use of toggling as a means of obtaining express consent under Canada’s anti-spam legislation