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The Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation and Cyber Insurance

Perhaps you’ve heard about the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which is rolling out across the country starting July 1st, 2014.

Perhaps, you haven’t.

But almost certainly, you’ve been the recipient of a recent barrage of emails – all asking for you to “consent” or “opt-in” to continue receiving communication that you never really asked for to begin with. This is all a result of CASL, which is having a big impact on how businesses communicate with you.


CASL is a big piece of legislation with a myriad of effects and exclusions, but McDougall Insurance has developed a CASL eBook to help you understand the law better. The jist of it is companies can not send unsolicited emails (or other electronic messages, like texts) without having your consent and without providing you with an opportunity to “unsubscribe” from future contact.

This is a great way to deal with unwanted spam (no I don’t need a months supply of Viagra, thanks), but it also has the unwanted byproduct of limiting legitimate communication as well. For example: McDougall Insurance does a newsletter which it sends to past, present and future clients to highlight charity events, explain insurance, or share things that are just plain interesting.We can’t do this anymore, not without getting consent anyway, or else risk heft fines (up to ten million dollars)!

McDougall Insurance isn’t alone in this boat, and so thousands of companies across the country are scrambling to get your consent –  hence the recent deluge you’ve been seeing in your email accounts.

Now, not all companies require your consent, at least not right away. Any company you’ve given your email to, or any company you currently do business with, can still send you messages until at the latest July 2017 (so long as the emails are relevant to your relationship or business function). That’s also when the private right to action begins, so don’t expect to hear any suits flying before then.

Of course, even if the company doesn’t need your consent, you can always tell them to stop contacting you by making use of the mandated “unsubscribe” feature. If they don’t cut off communication in ten business days, they are breaking the law.

Clearly companies will now need to be more vigilant than ever when communicating with clients, but they aren’t the only ones. As a consumer you must also pay close attention, to make sure you still receive the communications you require, benefit from, or enjoy, since they could be coming to an end with CASL. Let the providers know what is valuable to you, so they can document your consent and continue to send information your way.

As for the companies of Canada, do some private research, potentially consult a lawyer, and develop a plan.

This is a good opportunity to check out cyber insurance, which is a form of insurance designed to help protect you against things like government legislation or malicious cyber attack.

Of course if you’d like to learn more about this particular form of coverage, or just want a quote or clarification on another insurance topic, don’t hesitate to shoot us an email at [email protected] or call us at 1-800-361-0974. We can’t protect you from spam quite like CASL, but we sure can protect you from a whole lot else!

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