This weekend, Canadians will break out the fun, food, and fireworks to celebrate Canada Day. But this year, the day has a little more meaning for healthcare practices than usual. July 1, 2017 marks the third anniversary of Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), and the end of the transition period for CASL by the Canadian government. This means that CASL compliance becomes a big deal. Many remain confused about just what CASL means and how they can stay compliant. Let’s take a quick look at the basics:
What is CASL?
Pretty much everyone hates spam. The Canadian government has decided to do something about it. CASL is their answer. It is their newest, and most powerful, weapon against spammers. It sets out specific rules (and consequences!) for what commercial electronic messages (CEM) can include.
What is a CEM?
A CEM is any commercial message sent that encourages people to do something in relation to their business. These messages can be sent by email, phone, instant messaging, or text.
Does the law apply to me?
Yes—if you send email or text to or from anyone in Canada. This means that the law is not limited to Canadians. So if you’re in the USA (or anywhere else in the world) but sending an email to a Canadian computer, CASL applies.
What should I ask myself before sending a CEM?
- Did the patient give either express consent (opted-in) or implied consent (you can prove that you have a relationship and that the patient provided their contact information to you) to receive your CEM?
- Did you clearly identify yourself?
- Did you provide a way the patient can easily contact you?
- Did you include an unsubscribe option that is free, takes effect immediately, and works for at least 60 days?
Where can I find more info on compliance?
Want to understand if you have implied consent? Wondering if your unsubscribe link is compliant? Do you think your messages might be exempt? The Canadian government has set up a website dedicated to understanding CASL. Please review this site at length to answer any additional questions you may have.
What does this mean if I am a Solutionreach client?
If you are a Solutionreach client, we undertook careful pre-CASL preparations in 2014 to evaluate commercial electronic communications sent by our clients, including allowing customers to mark patients who have given express consent. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- If you have not seen a patient since July 1, 2014 (and the patient hasn't given express consent to receive CEMs), you should not send messages to these patients. Our system will automatically stop sending messages to these patients.
- Any patient who has been seen will have deemed to have given implied consent for two years. Our system automatically applies the two year consent.
- If a practice has received express consent from a patient and marked it in the system, our system will continue to allow them to communicate with the patient as normal.
With Solutionreach, you can rest easy that we are watching your back when it comes to compliance. So sit back, grab some food, and enjoy your day. Happy Canada Day!