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CASL: Anti Spam Legislation (CRTC-Canada)

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Please read Canada's Anti-SPAM laws in Bill C-28 and get your own legal advice on this Act. The interpretations below are our understanding of the Act and are not to be construed as a legal opinion, nor should they be interpreted as providing any protection from the proposed remedies in the Act.

Business processes and web forms in Theatre Manager should be configured to favour explicit OPT-IN under bill C-28, to provide as much protection to a venue and its Board of Directors as possible.

Consent falls under two basic categories that are described further below:
  • Explicit Consent
    • you must get the patrons permission to email them for a specific purpose.
    • This is best tracked using one or more mail lists (with opt-in or double opt-in feature set).
  • Implied consent
    • This occurs for all client initiated activities (such as a purchase of tickets, donations, gift certificates, rentals, etc at box office, or online)
    • Any activity automatically gives you the right for up to two years to contact them via email regarding that activity.
    • You can use the purchase data to build an internal mail list (i.e. not public), and then email the client


Adherence to Proposed Legislation - May 2014

There is legislation pending in Canada (Jul 1, 2014), the key parts of which are addressed (specifically OPT-IN) in the release notes for version 10.00.05:

  • Based on CRTC rules and Canada's Anti-SPAM laws in Bill C-28, a decision was made to make the defaults for new patron addition online Do not Email for ALL countries other than the USA.
  • According to pages 8 and 31 of the CRTC CIO discussion document, the default for a venue MUST be so that the user takes explicit action to opt-in to get marketing email. The default for the USA is that you can assume the person opts in without action.

    Note that the legislation does not affect items sent by the web listener as a result of buying tickets or requesting passwords. There are also mitigating factors for compliance for not-for-profit organizations; so you may want to read the legislation.

Theatre Manager complies with the legislation's requirement of EXPLICIT OPT-IN for all new patrons for marketing purposes.

The current process is:

  • If a Patron buys something online or makes a change to their personal settings on the web site, then an email is sent confirming their purchase or account change. This does not put them on a future list for email purposes. A direct business action online is consent to receive an immediate email confirmation for their own safety.
  • The default web page settings for Canadian clients REMOVES the 'do not email' flag from the web pages.

    Instead please:

    • use at least one mail list for this purpose -and-
    • in all criteria used for e-blasting, include, at a minimum 'belongs to mail list (xxxx)'
  • You can allow people to add themselves to multiple specific mail lists if you wish (opt in).


Setting up a Granular Opt-in/Opt Out

The opt-in process using one checkbox is a bit of a 'one checkbox kills all emails' to patrons. A feature has existed for a long time in the web sales process to allow patrons to add (or remove) themselves from any mail lists that you have allowed them to manage online. In all cases, this is an explicit opt in (and out) and the date that the patron added themselves can be viewed on the mail list tab on the patron window.

The SecondGeneration listener is being enhanced to make the process more versatile for you (the venue).

The process of a patron adding or updating their personal information online will become:

  • A patron can add themselves or update their account as before
  • The web sales will be designed to show a list of mail lists that the user can sign up to on the account pages.
  • The Patron will be able to add (or remove) themselves from any mail lists that you have allowed them to manage online. In all cases, this is an explicit opt in (and out).
  • and you will need to put a link at the bottom of all correspondence to tell people how to opt out of marketing emails by going to your web site to manage the opt-in/opt-out process (section 11 of the act).

These existing mail list features in TM to provide a flexible way for patrons to tailor how they wish to be reached. For example, you can have multiple email lists that effectively mean:

  • Email me about opera
  • Email me about special events
  • Send me a brochure each year
  • Email me about youth programs
  • Tell me about auditions
  • Etc.


Explicit Double Opt-in

You can

  • choose to have the mail lists set as a simple 'they click and get added' (per the above).
  • Use the more recommended Double-Opt-in setting. If it is set to 'double-opt-in' the patron will:
    • receive an email after they add themselves on the web -and-
    • they will need to confirm that email to get truly added to the notification list.
      If they do not confirm within 24 hours, they will be taken off the mail list. If they confirm after that, they will be restored to the mail list.
In both cases, the subscription type is recorded in the mail list along with the date. The double opt in has the benefit of also verifying the email address due to a round trip to the customer.


Implicit Permission

There appears to be provisions in the act for implicit right to email people

  • if they have purchased in the past two years under part 10 of this page of the Act
  • For warranty work
  • For ongoing subscription or membership purposes for a period of two years after the subscription or membership expired (article 14 of above page)