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Brock advice on anti-spam legislation

Posted by kevinc on Jun 24th, 2014 and filed under Top stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

As private-sector companies gear up for the July 1 implementation of the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), in-boxes around Brock may be inundated with requests for consent from third parties seeking to continue to send you newsletters, deals and other commercial electronic communications (or CEMs, as they are termed by the legislation).

It may have got people wondering, how does this affect the emails I send at Brock?

The good news is, most of the emails sent by Brock will be exempted from the legislation. Brock’s legal team has consulted with legal counsel at other Ontario universities, and has also obtained a legal opinion from independent legal counsel, and has concluded that emails relating to the University’s core educational activities are not covered by the legislation. This means that emails relating to student offers, teaching, research, even student events and co-op placements are not subject to the Act’s requirements.

The Act also includes a number of exceptions that exempt certain other messages, such as where:

  • The primary purpose of the message is fundraising: The requirements of CASL do not apply to CEMs sent on behalf of a registered charity, where the message has as its primary purpose raising funds.
  • The message is an internal business communication: Messages sent internally between departments and units of Brock, even if commercial, are exempt from the legislation.
  • The message is sent to an external organization that has a relationship with Brock: Messages sent between organizations that have a relationship are exempt if they concern the activities of the recipient organization.
  • The message is sent in response to a request or otherwise solicited by the recipient: A commercial electronic message sent in response to a request, inquiry or complaint or is otherwise solicited by the person to whom it is sent is exempt from CASL.

However, electronic messages that do not relate to the core educational activities of the University, and have either a commercial purpose or a mixed purpose (and don’t fall into the exempted categories above), may be subject to the Act’s requirements.

For those emails, senders will need to comply with the Act’s 3 main requirements for CEMS:
1.     they must have consent (express or implied) of the recipient to send the email;
2.     they must include certain prescribed information in the email itself; and
3.     the email must include an effective unsubscribe mechanism.

The University’s legal team is preparing a tool kit for staff that explains when and how CASL applies, and provides guidance on how to comply with the Act. The University plans to release the kit in mid-July and will be offering training to all staff at that point.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about how CASL affects what you do, please contact the University’s General Counsel, Chabriol Colebatch, at ccolebatch@brocku.ca

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