If you are using email marketing as part of your overall business, you need to be paying attention to the new law that just took effect in Canada. While passed in 2010, it just became effective and it is causing quite a stir with many marketers. If you aren’t in compliance, it could cost you up to $10 million dollars in fines. Even for individual senders the penalty is up to $1 million.
Essentially, if you’re sending any type of email to people who have not specifically requested it, you could be in some serious trouble. For now, you have until July 2017 to get express permission to send emails, but you do still need ‘implied consent’ which is what most people typically give.
Specifically, you may be violating the law if you have ever purchased email lists, added people to your list manually, or even have a very old list with outdated emails on them. In addition, you are not allowed to alter or redirect the message, which many legal experts are saying could mean you can’t send email on behalf of another company and direct the responses back to them (without permission).
The law covers many other generally bad practices of email marketing such as making it illegal to install software on someone’s computer without their express consent. Also, you can’t use false or misleading representations online when promoting any type of product or service. Things like this may be widely considered to be bad practices, but now they are illegal when it comes to targeting Canadians, so make sure you are taking extra precautions.
The bottom line here is, you need to be following industry best practices regarding how you build an email list, and how it is used to ensure you don’t operate outside this strict new law. In addition, make sure you go through the new law to look specifically at how it may affect you, after all, ignorance is not a defense.