How Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law Affects Your Business March 19, 2013 RICCentre By: Leah Jones Canada’s impending Anti-Spam Law is being called the toughest of its kind, cracking down on “commercial electronic messages” (CEMs) in the interest of public privacy and the prevention of electronic threats. The legislation comes into effect in 2013, and will regulate everything from emails and text messages to social media updates, so long as the message has connections to “commercial activity.” John Macdonald (RIC’s resident ICT entrepreneur) believes the law will most impact those in the technology sector: “The anti-spam legislation will affect the way startups engage with potential customers, as any form of online communication hinges on expressed consent. This is especially true for ICT startups in the software industry, who often depend on the Internet to get information and products to their customers.” Deloitte put together a comprehensive report, clearly outlining the law’s requirements and suggestions for implementation. Here are three ways the legislation could impact your startup: Using a Purchased Mailing List If your business relies on sending email promotions or updates to an electronic mailing list you have purchased online, you must do an opt-in campaign to ensure recipients intend to receive that message from you or your company. Be sure to store this consent in case of an audit or a complaint at a later time. Installing a Program on Another Person’s Computer If your business requires the installation of software on clients’ computers, you must gain individual consent for the installation of each program. This consent can no longer be bundled into the terms and conditions of use or sale, so ensure your clients express consent either on paper or electronically before installation, and store the provided information in a database for future reference. Altering Transmission Data The altering of transmission data involves the delivery of any message to a destination other than the destination specified by the sender. This includes the sending of forms to a database the user is unaware of. If your business uses the altering of transmission data, inform the user exactly where the message will be sent, and for what purpose before obtaining their consent. For more information and tactics for implementing a communications plan to ensure compliance, see Deloitte’s report and the full legislation on the Justice Laws website. If you are looking to grow your business, contact the RIC Centre for access to seasoned entrepreneurs like John Macdonald through our mentoring services. Leah is completing her final year of the Visual Culture and Communications specialist program at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College. She is interning at the RIC centre, bringing her experience in digital, print and website design. Leah is eager to begin a career in corporate communications after her graduation in June. The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal & professional experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.