Because Gazelle sends automated electronic communication out on your behalf, you need to ensure you have your Gazelle account set up to be CASL Complient.
What is CASL?
The Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is the most strict anti-spam legislation in the world, exceeding that of other developed nations including the US, UK, and the EU. It also imposes steep fines on individuals and businesses who violate the law ranging from $1-$10,000,000.
How do I become CASL Compliant?
The spirit of the law says "It is unlawful to send a 'Commercial Electronic Message' (Referred to as a CEM) to anyone unless they have specifically asked you to do so"...but it involves much more than this. To comply with CASL you need to:
- Have consent from your clients to send them electronic messages
- Provide them with information about how to contact you every time you send an electronic message
- Provide an easy way for them to unsubscribe (Specifically using the word "Unsubscribe" for emails or "STOP" for SMS Reminders)
Gaining your clients consent is key to complying with CASL. However, this is not always straightforward or practical. As a result, CASL allows for two different kinds of consent (Expressed or Implied) and regulates the limitations associated with each one
The " Implied consent Clause" is the easiest to satisfy. A person is considered to implicitly consent to receive CEM if they have:
- Initiated contact with your company within the past 6 months
- Requested a quote or estimate for goods or services
- Given you a business card or verbally ask you to contact them
- Purchased goods or services from your company within the past 2 years
If they have done any of these things - AND - have never asked to be unsubscribed from your CEM; they are considered to have given you their "Implied Consent" to receive CEM from your company.
The "Expressed Consent Clause" is the hardest to satisfy, and the burden of proof rests on the person claiming to have received "Expressed Consent". Translated, it must be in writing - or - in the form of a recorded conversation; or else it does not exist. Gaining "Expressed Consent" is not as straightforward as asking "Do you want to receive email from my company?" and you cannot send them a CEM asking them for consent unless you already have their implied consent to do so. CASL requires that in order for a person to give "Expressed Consent" they must be informed by the sender of the CEM:
- Why Consent is being sought (to send you messages via SMS, Email, Etc... that will seek to confirm appointments, remind you of service and xyz...)
- Who is sending the email (Gazelle sends email on your behalf, so the "Who" here is you or your business)
- How to contact the sender of the email (Phone, Email, Website, etc...)
- How to unsubscribe from the CEM should they ever change their mind
If you do not have "Expressed Consent" from your clients then you will need to follow the rules governing "Implied Consent" if you are sending any type of CEMs through Gazelle.
CASL requires that every CEM include the identification of the person who is sending the email. Technically, Gazelle is sending electronic communication out on your behalf, so according to section (2)a and (2)b, you need to provide your contact information on every CEM you send.
For Email: This requirement is satisfied by the information Gazelle provides in the footer of every email sent to one of your clients.
For Text / SMS Messages: This requirement cannot easily be satisfied due to the 140 character limitations of each SMS message. CLICK HERE to read about the exception CASL provides for satisfying this requirement inside of a text message.
In order to comply with CASL, every CEM you send needs to include an "Unsubscribe Mechanism". That is a fancy way of saying: you need to give your clients an easy way to be taken off your mailing list. CASL does not require a certain type of mechanism to be used (ie: an unsubscribe link) but they do give some pretty strict guidelines that must be followed:
- It must be easy - IE - Reply to this email with the word "Unsubscribe" to be removed from our mailing list Will satisfy the CASL requirement - or - hyperlinking via a "Click Here to Unsubscribe" link embeded in the CEM.
- It should be accessible to anyone - IE it should be as few steps as necessary and clients should not be required to search for the info hidden on a webpage. They also should not be asked to "Login" to an account in order to unsubscribe.
- It must be included in every CEM - IE - If the CEM is an email the client should be able to unsubscribe by sending an email or interacting with a hyperlink to an unsubscribe form that is included in the email. NOTE: Your unsubscribe link must be included in every text message you send.
- Any requests to "unsubscribe" must be processed as soon as possible - or - no later than 10 days after the request has been received.
What do CASL Complient Messages Look Like?
An Email with a Hyperlinked Unsubscribe Mechanism (Option 1 of 2)
An Email with Simple Unsubscribe Mechanism (Option 2 of 2)
A Text Message with "Reply STOP to End" and "Info" hyperlink