The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) started being enforced on July 1, 2014, and is applicable to anyone who makes use of commercial electronic messages. This means if you have an email address in your email marketing campaign that you suspect belongs to a Canadian, or if anyone opens your email in Canada, this law is applicable even if the business is based in the U.S. or any other country outside of Canada. For a brief overview of CASL, watch our quick video.
A major change from CAN-SPAM and other spam laws in CASL is the concept of a consent hierarchy, which can be express or implied. Implied consent can be established in a variety of ways. And depending on how consent is given (for example, via a purchase vs. an inquiry), it can last anywhere from 6-24 months. Express consent lasts until it’s revoked by the contact.
There’s a 3 year transitional period built into CASL, during which you can still contact individuals from whom you had implied consent (for example, they bought a product).
Upcoming CASL-related API changes
We will be releasing new functionality during Q3 this year that will help our developers and their users to be CASL compliant. The first change will be in the Export Contacts bulk activity endpoint. It will provide a way for users to document consent with Constant Contact. There will be a new Permission status column showing either implied or express when exporting contacts to a .csv file. This gives users the ability to document consent within Constant Contact. Eventually, the Permission status property will also be available using the contact API endpoint.
What you can do now
Integration users can access and schedule a CASL “Confirm Subscription” campaign using the API to get express permission from subscribers. Because this campaign uses a STOCK template_type, the email_constent (HTML) and text_content fields cannot be edited using the API.
This blog post describes all tools that are currently or soon-to-be available in the Constant Contact UI to help users prepare for CASL. Check upcoming developer newsletters, our Tech Blog, and developer forums for information on additional CASL-related features as they become available.