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Re: Effects of Canadian Anti-spam legislation on accessibility


From: Karlen Communications
Date: Jul 1, 2014 4:15AM

Many companies in Canada, including adaptive technology vendors, over the
past two weeks have been sending out e-mail with consent instructions to
continue corresponding. I did notice that none of the companies that send me
bills electronically or bill notifications electronically have done so. Am
not sure if this means that they have legal advice that the CASL (Canadian
Anti-Spam Legislation) does not apply to them or, like everyone else, the
implementation date has been a well-kept secret.

The legislation also applies to voice communication originating in Canada
which means hopefully there will be a lot less telemarketing and robo calls
unless you consent to them.

The legislation covers anything considered CEM or Commercial Electronic
Messages originating in Canada. It does extend to social media but gets
quite tricky when doing so. For example, as I understand it, a Facebook wall
is OK but mailing people using a Facebook account without their expressed
and archived in a database permission, is not allowed.

As with most legislation, there are some vague parts to it open to a huge
range of interpretation.

The law covers anything sent within Canada so is not going to stop the spam
sent from outside Canada and does not affect any companies requesting
assistance without first consenting to communication if the originating
e-mail is sent from outside Canada...as I understand it. I'm adding an "I
consent to communication" link to my website for future clients and have
contacted most of my existing ones in Canada to get permission to continue
talking to them about business.

There are many of us who are still finding out about this new law even
though it goes into effect today and the few news stories I've seen on it
state that it is the most aggressive anti-spam legislation in the world.
Perhaps telling us about it ahead of time would have been considered spam?

The fines are significant and in the millions of dollars. In terms of
enforcement, no one wants to be the test case, on the other hand the
government can't even enforce the Accessibility for Ontarians with
Disabilities Act so am not sure how the CASL will be enforced. I do realize
that one is federal and one is provincial.

Anyway, should be interesting.

For those who are interested, or who are in Canada and only hearing about
this legislation now, here is the home page for the legislation:

Cheers, Karen

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Birkir R.
Sent: June 30, 2014 8:50 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] Effects of Canadian Anti-spam legislation on accessibility

Greetings listers.

AS a part of corporate compliance for one of our clients I reently had to
take an overview lesson on the CASL, Canadian Anti-spam Legislation, that
comes into effect at midnight.
From what little I did learn it was clear that any type of email
correspondence is severely limited. Only direct replies to a direct inquiry
are allowed, and only a single one for each inquiry.
This effectively handcuffs anyone who wishes to have an email conversation
or thread to help resolve an issue with a Canadian business, and limits back
and forth communication with e.g. customer service, to phone or mail only.
I may be misunderstanding something here, but based on what I learnt, I feel
like if I lived in Canada I am being taken back 10 to 15 years in terms of
accessibility and flexibility to communicate with businesses.
I prefer email whenever possible, due to the fact that I can copy and paste
facts, numbers and review images sent to me with a sighed colleague.
Phoe does not offer the same flexibility and I will not ever go back to
having to review bills and correspondance with customer service agents by
scanning my snail mail.
I would assume that messages sent to an online inbox on the company┬┤s
website are allowed, though the course that I took did not discuss that
scenario specifically.
I understand the frustration of spam and corr-advertizing, as do all of us
who have a computer and an email address.
But in my experience the benefit of being able to correspond via email with
business when the need arises far outweighs possible spam from legitimate
I doubt that actual spam from those who are not would be caught or
prosecuted in Canada, as most of those IP addresses are located elsewhere.
I am curious if someone reviewed this legislation and its effect on
accessibility, and also glad at the moment that I do not live in canada.
That being said, it is a great country, email communication aside, and I
wish all those wanna be northerners (I am from Iceland, the true north),
happy Canada day!

Work hard. Have fun. Make history.
messages to <EMAIL REMOVED>