CASL’s effect on small business

June 21st, 2014 by Barry Sookman Leave a reply »

Many businesses are in the midst of trying to become CASL compliant. They hate it. As I explained in a previous post, CASL will hit the SME sector very hard. According to a recent article about it in the Globe:

Marketers big and small facing this legislative change are criticizing it as costly to implement, penalizing to small businesses, and not targeted enough at the spammers who are the real problem in the world of e-mail advertising.

For most businesses and especially small businesses CASL is “heavy-handed” and they are feeling the crackdown. This morning I explained CASL to a financial advisor. He couldn’t believe that the Government would enact a law that so significantly impacted his ability to reach out to new prospects. I also spoke to a dentist. He also couldn’t believe how it affected his ability to reach out to other dentists to help drum up new referral business.

Then later today, I got this email from a client saying the following (with slight changes):

I  just despise CASL… and its effects are despicable. I have a friend with a small business that’s clever and lucrative. Prep for CASL compliance is really weighing on her. I’ve been trying to help her. [Name] has a HUGE mailing list. Her direct mail sales are even more than her retail sales. AND she gives classes. CASL is SO nervous-making for “small”-ish business.

Yesterday the CRTC published a Compliance and Enforcement Bulletin for CASL and and the Do Not Call List. It reads like a bulletin one would expect to apply to securities regulation for public issuers or to anti-money laundering regulation for banks. It describes the components of a compliance program as including senior management involvement, risk assessments, written corporate compliance policies, record keeping, training, auditing and monitoring, complaint handling, and corrective (disciplinary) action.  The bulletin clearly shows how important the CRTC views CASL compliance.

In football there is a penalty for “piling on”. For small businesses as well as for many other organizations including charities, educational institutions and other not-for profit organizations, this bulletin, assuming they even have the people with the time to read it,  will certainly be seen as “piling on” to their CASL compliance challenges.

For more information about CASL, see, CASL: the unofficial FAQ, regulatory impact statement, and compliance guideline.

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