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Date: October 15, 2014
Re: Canada’s New Anti-Spam Legislation

This memo provides a summary of the new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (“CASL”), which came into effect July 1, 2014.

What is CASL?

The new Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) regulates the sending of commercial electronic messages (CEMs).  The law took effect on July 1, 2014 and prevents the distribution of commercial messages sent through electronic means, such as emails, newsletters, text messages, and direct messaging on social media. The new law also requires that all electronic messages clearly identify the sender and include an unsubscribe option. The legislation requires that you must have permission before you communicate electronically with an individual to send a CEM.

What is a CEM?

A CEM is defined as commercial if it encourages participation in a commercial activity.

The term commercial activity means any activity that is of commercial nature, whether or not the person who carries out the activity expects a profit.

 

When does CASL apply?

Providence is of the opinion that electronic communications relating to its core educational activities, broadly defined, are not “of a commercial character”. Thus, CASL does not regulate communications pertaining to our core educational activities.

Our core activities relate to education in all its many-faceted aspects, and to the maintenance of an educational community. Thus, the new law will not regulate our communications with:

  1. Existing or prospective students, for any kind of educational program, and for any aspect of the educational relationship, including residence space, meal plans, etc: or

  2. Alumni in relation to educational activities and the maintenance of an educational community relationship (e.g. lectures, reunions, alumni events).

In addition, there are some exemptions to the law. Emails sent from Providence accounts that do not relate to core educational activities may be exempt from the law if they are emails that are sent:

  1. For fundraising purposes;

  2. To businesses with which Providence conducts business, in the normal course of business

  3. By one Providence employee to another Providence employee; and

  4. By a Providence employee to her/his friends or family members.

What has been done since the law came into effect?

As of July 1, Providence has reviewed and determined the nature and purpose of all outgoing electronic communications, primarily to ascertain if they are related to Providence’s core activities or fall within one of the 4 exemptions, or may be viewed as commercial, in which case further analysis has been taken.

What if the communication is “of a commercial character”?

If the communication is commercial, and is not otherwise exempt, you will need express or implied consent to send it. In the case of “an existing business or non-business relationship”, the legislation provides a transitional period of three years from July 1, 2014 during which consent to receive emails can be implied, and during which you can receive express consent.

Express consent requires three things:

  1. Consent (e.g. completed by clicking on a button that says ‘I consent’ to a specific kind of communication);

  2. Identification of the person on whose behalf the message is sent (in our case this will be Providence, and it will be best practice to identify a specific contact/dept. within Providence relevant to the communication begin sent); and

  3. An unsubscribe mechanism.

What electronic communication deemed “of a commercial character” would Providence be sending?

Examples would include (but are not limited to): Messages regarding special offers, contests, promotions that are typically outside of our educational programming etc.

What happens when I give consent?

You agree to receive messages with commercial content from Providence.  You can unsubscribe at any time. Your consent will be recorded.

For emails of commercial character only: You may continue to receive emails for a period of 18 mths. if we have your implied consent. You can unsubscribe from any emails you no longer wish to receive.

When I unsubscribe from one email does that stop all emails?

No, messages can come from a variety of departments within Providence and each department maintains their own list.  Every email that Providence sends has its own unsubscribe button, unsubscribing from one email does not affect other departments.

Final Words

Providence: University College, Mile Two Discipleship School and Theological Seminary believes that this legislation should have only a small impact on the institution since most of our communications pertain to our core activities, which are not of a commercial character.  

If further guidance is required, please contact pr@prov.ca.

For more information on CASL please see www.crtc.gc.ca/antispam

 

 
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