Implied and express permission in CASL regulations

What the Canadian Anti-Spam law mean when it talks about implied and express permission.

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Implied and express permission in CASL regulations

Canadian Anti-Spam laws (CASL) talk about two different types of permission when it comes to collecting email addresses. These types of permission are called express permission and implied permission.

Express Permission

Express permission is obtained when you explicitly ask your potential contacts for permission to send them email, and they agree. You need to use clear language when you ask and you also need to include the following information to fully inform them about who will be emailing:

  • Your name (or the name of the party/company asking for permission)

  • Company name

  • Company address

  • Company website

  • Company phone number

  • Company postal address

The customer must also be told which email provider (such as Constant Contact) will be sending the emails and that unsubscribing at any time is an option.

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Implied Permission

Implied permission takes place in a situation where the conditions of express permission have not been met but some previous relationship exists.  Some examples of implied permission include:

  • Existing business relationships where the recipient has:
    • Bought or leased a product, good, or service from the business owner in the past two years
    • Been involved in an investment or gaming opportunity with the customer in the past two years
    • Entered into a written or electronic contract with the customer in the last two years
  • Existing non-business relationships where the recipient has:
    • Made a donation or gift to a registered charity or political organization in the past two years
    • Volunteered with the charity or political organization in the past two years
    • Been a member of an organization’s club, association or not-for-profit volunteer association in the last two years
You cannot keep contacts who have only given you Implied consent on your list forever. Implied consent does expire after a period of time and needs to be converted into Express content. Your Implied permission will expire:
  • For contacts captured BEFORE July 1, 2014: On July 1, 2017 (three years after law goes into effect)
  • For contacts captured AFTER July 1, 2014: Two years after they were initially collected. This applies only if the contact doesn't buy something new or doesn't renew their subscription, loan, account, or contract.

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Gaining Express Permission

There are several ways you can gain express permission, based on whether you already have implied permission or are starting from scratch:

  • Send a specific confirmation email - Send an email specifically designed to encourage contacts to confirm interest. Just use the "CASL Confirm Subscription" template. Contacts who confirm through the template have given express permission.
  • Use a permission reminder with a soft confirm opt-in link in all  your emails - Contacts who choose to confirm their interest through a soft confirm have given express permission. Add a soft confirm opt-in link to your permission reminder take advantage of this:

    1.   Click to edit your email
    2.   View your email's Permission Reminder setting to make sure it is "On".
    3.   In the text box that displays, edit the message your recipients will see, as necessary.

    Hi, just a reminder that you're receiving this email because you have expressed an interest in [Company Name]. Don't forget to add [From Email Address] to your address book so we'll be sure to land in your inbox!

    4.   Add the following HTML code and text where you wish the link to appear.

    Click here
     to confirm your interest in receiving our emails.

    Note: Text in red can be edited to personalize your message.

    5.  Click Save and then click Next to continue creating your email. The Permission Reminder and soft confirm appear at the top of the page.
  • Use double opt-in - Any customer who goes through a double opt-in, either via email or through the sign-up experience, has given express consent
  • Ask for consent and give the criteria  - When collecting new addresses through any means (fishbowl, web form, in person meeting) ask specifically for permission to email and clearly communicate the details required for express consent verbally or in writing.

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Learn More

As always, we will keep you posted on the continuing changes in the email marketing industry. If you have specific questions about your organization, we recommend that you contact your attorney.

For more information, read Constant Contact's anti-spam policy and additional information about the Canadian Anti-Spam laws.

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