How Canada’s New Email Compliance Compares to US & UK Regulations

Bryan Gudmundsonecommerce news, email remarketingLeave a Comment

canada email compliance

canada email compliance

July 1st, 2014, Canada’s new email compliance law goes into effect and can cost your company millions.

As a content channel, email remarketing has aged gracefully over the past few years. Email remains the most profitable digital channel and delivers proven results year after year. However, once you start doing business on a global scale, email becomes a tricky business. In efforts to combat malicious messaging and a constant influx of unwanted spam, global governments have created official regulations on the contents and dispatching methods for email.

One such regulation was signed into law in December of 2010. A few years ago, Canada drafted and ratified a new set of regulations concerning commercial messaging. As of July 1st, 2014, all emails to and from Canada must follow a new strict set of rules, collectively known as CASL, in order to be considered compliant and avoid penalty. Unfortunately for retailers with full plates, the rules for Canada don’t perfectly mirror the rules for other countries, so it’s time to learn a new set of regulations.

If you’re a retailer that does business internationally, you need to know what’s allowed and what’s illegal before you dispatch remarketing messages. Today, we’re going to take a look at current and upcoming email regulations for a few of the biggest spenders in ecommerce: The United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

The information in this blog should NOT be regarded as formal legal advice. Please contact an expert at UpSellit if you’d like to learn more about international email compliance.


Remarketing in Canada: Email Compliance

Once fairly lax on email regulations, Canada will begin enforcing an entirely new set of commercial email regulations beginning on July 1st, 2014. Under a piece of legislation affectionately titled, An Act to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating certain activities that discourage reliance on electronic means of carrying out commercial activities, and to amend the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act, the Competition Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Telecommunications Act, known to most as the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), Canada is ushering in one of the strictest set of guidelines marketers have yet seen.

Strict Opt-In Consent
CASL regulates the sending and content of any “electronic messages” sent to consumers. In this instance, an electronic message is defined as a “message sent by any means of telecommunication, including a text, sound, voice or image message.” All message sent across any of these channels must only follow the receipt of express consent. Consent may be oral or written, but must be provable.

Consent Exceptions
In all but a small set of cases, express permission is required by the recipient to dispatch any commercial emails. The exceptions fall under what is known as “implied consent.” This type of consent is acquired only when the recipient…

  • …has made a donation and the sender is a charity, political party, or candidate for public office.
  • …has “conspicuously published” their email, has made no statement denying the receiving of emails, and the message is relevant to their publication.
  • …and the sender have existing business or non-business relationship.
  • …has disclosed his or her electronic address and the message is relevant to their business role. Such as during a business card exchange.

Content Requirements
In order to maintain compliance, all emails must include, in clear fashion, the identity of the represented company, the identity of the sender (or on who’s behalf the email is sent), a mailing address and contact information, and a functioning unsubscribe method. Requests to unsubscribe must always be available through the same channel by which the message is dispatched.


Remarketing in the United States: Email Compliance

The majority of the regulations for email sending and contents come from the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. This piece of legislation set the tone for email remarketing early on and has provided marketers with a framework since the early days of e-commerce.

Opt-Out Consent
All emails sent within or to the United States with commercial intent must contain a clearly labeled and available method for opting out of receiving any future messages. Unlike other countries, it is not necessary to have express consent in order to send a message to users within the United States, however, once a reader unsubscribes, you must honor their request within 10 business days.

Content Requirements
In order to achieve email compliance under the CAN-SPAM Act, your remarketing emails must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Accurate Identifier Fields: All information in the “From,” “To,” and “Reply-To” fields must be accurate. Additionally, the subject field must pertain to the contents of the message.
  • Physical Location: You must include the physical location of your business somewhere in your message. Whether this is your actual office or a PO box, it needs to appear in your message.
  • Clear Intentions: Within the body of your message, you must clearly state that your remarketing email is, in fact, a commercial message. There are no strict regulations as to how you should make this known, but it has to be reasonably intuitive.


Remarketing in the United Kingdom: Email Compliance

Around the same time the United States signed anti-spam regulations into law, the United Kingdom created and approved the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003. For the last 11 years, this document has been the rubric against which email legality is evaluated.

Opt-In Consent
Contrasting United States’ law, commercial emails may only be sent to consumers who have expressly volunteered their email address to receive such materials. Achieving email compliance in the UK also requires that each email contain a method for unsubscribing and that those requests be honored promptly.

Consent Exceptions
There are a few exceptions to the UK’s opt-in consent model. B2B emails, for instance, are permitted without express permission so long as the email is relevant to the recipient’s business. Additionally, certain types of emails, such as transaction and purchase-confirmation messages, do not require user permission.

Content Requirements
All emails sent by corporations within the United Kingdom must prominently display the sender’s identity. In addition, compliant emails will include the company registration number, place of registration, and a registered office address. All email addresses used to send messages must be valid.

Although the United States, the UK, and Canada are all big components of the global e-commerce machine, there are many more potent markets in countries with entirely new sets of compliance standards. To learn more about creating effective, legal email remarketing campaigns, contact the experts at UpSellit.


Written by Bryan Gudmundson

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