Covering My A** in Light of Canada’s New Anti-Spam Legislation

As you may have noticed, the Verbaccino website is trilingual: English, French and German. Those are the languages I happen to speak fluently, and I want to be able to point to www.verbaccino.com as an example of what a multilingual website can look like.

Now here’s a fact you may not know if you don’t live and work in Canada: on July 1st, 2014, our federal government passed the so-called Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). It’s intended to control the amount of spam that people receive by email.

What it means for Canadian-based businesses, big or small, is that we’re now required to get explicit consent (as opposed to implicit, wishy-washy consent) from people before we send them a single unsolicited email. There’s more to it than that, of course, but I’ll spare you the details. Suffice it to say that if a complaint is made against you and you’re found in violation of the law, you may face penalties so stiff that they could wipe you out of existence. (I’m not kidding.)

So for my Verbaccino “Contact” page, I’ve created the following option:

If you would like to receive occasional email updates from Verbaccino, please check the box next to “Yes”, below. In doing so, you will be giving Verbaccino your explicit consent to contact you by email in the future. You may revoke that consent at any time. Verbaccino will never share your information with third parties. Verbaccino is a Canadian-based business and operates in compliance with the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) passed on July 1st, 2014.

Then there’s a little box with “Yes” next to it, which you can check (or not check). I may still change the wording, since I intend to research what other Canadian businesses are doing on their “Contact” pages. But you get the idea.

That’s just the English version, though. There are actually be three “Contact” pages on the Verbaccino website, one for each language. I spent a good chunk of today carefully translating the above paragraph into French and German. Thankfully, there’s a handy-dandy website I recently discovered that was extremely helpful: Linguee. According to their “About” page, it’s “a unique translation tool combining an editorial dictionary and a search engine with which you can search hundreds of millions of bilingual texts for words and expressions.” And does it this in dozens of language combinations. Brilliant! You just have to make sure the examples you find are from credible sources, ideally from official institutions of some sort that presumably use the standardized terms for things.

Well? Are you curious how my French and German translations turned out? Here they are.

French:

Si vous souhaitez recevoir des nouvelles occasionnelles de Verbaccino par courriel, veuillez cocher la case à côté de “Oui”, ci-dessous. Ce faisant, vous consenterez explicitement à ce que Verbaccino vous contacte par courriel dans le futur. Vous pourrez révoquer votre consentement en tout temps. Verbaccino ne partagera jamais vos informations avec des tiers. Verbaccino est une compagnie canadienne et se doit de respecter la législation anti-pourriel canadienne, en vigueur depuis le 1er juillet, 2014.

German:

Wenn Sie Interesse haben, hin und wieder E-Mail Nachrichten von Verbaccino zu bekommen, haken Sie bitte das Kästchen neben “Ja” an. Damit geben Sie Verbaccino Ihre ausdrückliche Einwilligung, dass wir Sie in Zukunft per E-Mail kontaktieren dürfen. Sie können Ihre Einwilligung jederzeit widerrufen. Verbaccino wird Ihre Informationen niemals an Dritte weitergeben oder verkaufen. Verbaccino ist ein kanadisches Unternehmen und handelt in Übereinstimmung mit der seit 1.7.2014 geltenden kanadischen Anti-Spam-Gesetzgebung.

With a little “Oui” and “Ja” box under each paragraph, respectively.

There you have it. Hopefully, these three paragraphs will keep me from getting sued into oblivion.

Oh, last but not least, a disclaimer: I’m NOT a lawyer. So if you copy and paste any of the three italicized paragraphs, above, and use them on your own website, don’t blame me if you still end up in legal hot water! Best to consult a lawyer, as I may end up doing.

Do you own a Canadian-based business? What have you figured out about CASL? Are you based in a country that has similar anti-spam legislation? How has it affected the way you communicate with your clients or potential clients? Share your comments below!

Cheers,

@KathrinBussmann, @Verbaccino

Verbaccino.com

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