Archive for June, 2014

An Update: Canada’s Anti Spam Legislation

Monday, June 16th, 2014

Warning: There is a lot of information heading your way but before you skip it over does your business have $10 million to lose over an email? 

Canada

On Friday, May 30th I had the privilege of attending a seminar put on by Bishop & McKenzie LLP about Canada’s upcoming Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). Prior to the seminar I thought I knew the gist of what was in store starting July 1st but by the end I realized I barely knew the tip of the iceberg. This regulation is going to significantly change the way we do business in Canada from the largest corporations to our smallest proprietorships.

 

In less than a month the way businesses are able to exchange commercial electronic messages (CEMs) is going to be altered drastically. Many of you are probably thinking, “CEM… What’s that?” Well the scary thing is a CEM is anything that is sent by any means of telecommunications including text, sound, voice or image. This means emails, texts, tweets and anything in between.

 

CASL’s main aim starting July 1st is to prevent the transmission of CEMs without consent and without proper formalities. This means that you will need to prove that not only do you have the consent to send someone an email or a text in regards to your business but also you will have to be able to prove that you have that consent.  In this situation there are two types of consent:

  • Express – someone actively gives you his or her permission to send a CEM.
  • Implied – reasonable to assume you have permission based on prior relationships.

 

Moving forward express consent is always preferred because implied consent is much harder to establish and prove. Express consent can be done through sign-up on a website, sign-up at point of sale, snail mail consent form or something similar. A pertinent example is the feature like an email asking for your permission to continue to send you commercial messages. Getting express consent now is at the utmost importance because after July 1st you will not be able to ask for it through the use of a CEM.

 

Beyond consent, all CEMs must have certain information in them in order to comply with CASL. All CEMs must contain the following information:

  • The name of the business seeking consent and identify on whose behalf consent is sought if it is different.
  • Contact information (physical mailing address and either phone number or email address) of the party seeking consent.
  • A mechanism that allows the recipient to unsubscribe easily at no cost.

 

The best practice moving forward is to ensure that in all email signatures or other similar features that this information be included in your CEMs.

 

The reason that CASL is getting so much attention is the penalties. The administrative monetary penalties are a maximum of  $1 million for individuals and $10 million for organizations. While these numbers are turning heads due diligence is a defence so developing and implanting a compliance program is essential.

 

Here are some key points for the compliance program:

  • Review your processes as they are right now.
    • Who are you sending messages to?
    • Do you have the proper consents?
    • Can you prove that you have the proper consents?
  • Get consent for your current mailing list if you are not sure they’re covered.
  • Keep records of consent and determine how these will be managed.
  • Appoint a lead or a team to manage compliance.
  • Start including prescribed information in your CEMs.
  • Stop sending electronic messages as a first point of contact.
  • Stop sending CEMs without consent.

 

Again, I would like to thank Bishop & McKenzie and especially Tara Hamelin for putting on such an informative session. For more information please give us a call and we’d be happy to go over this in a little more detail. It seems like a lot because it is a lot. Let us help you out!

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Riding Waves Is Like Building a Business

A few years ago I took up surfing. I know.  It’s a bit random for an Edmonton born and raised girl to take up surfing – but I started it, and can’t stop. It’s been a long time since I’ve been passionate about a hobby to the point of checking out gear and obsessively planning trip after trip to surf destinations on the off chance of catching a few waves. Surf Cali

In learning to surf I’ve also learned that surfing has a lot to teach us about business ownership.

1. Don’t Look Down - The second you look down at the water or your board that’s where you go… down. It’s true that sometimes you fall anyway, in business and in surfing without looking down, but in my limited learning experience, when you look down, that’s the way you go.

2. Look Across the Line – If you’re not looking down, you should be looking down the line of the wave. There you’ll see what’s coming and how you should react or when possible plan ahead.

3. Be Polite in the Line up But Paddle Like Each Wave is the Best One and You’re About to Miss It – When you surf, you wait in what’s called a ‘line up’. The surfer closest to the break of the wave gets the right of way. Catching waves is partially about reading the ocean and then always paddling to be where you think the best position on the wave will be. Business is similar. I find it’s less about what the competition is doing, and more about knowing where you are in the space of the ‘wave’. Always be paddling like your next move is your best one. (Notice it’s not the ‘last’ one…it’s the best one!)

4. Be Present – It’s not just for surfers and yogis, being present is a great business philosophy too. I find I have a terrible surf session when my mind is elsewhere. When I’m thinking too much about a hurdle I’m facing with a client’s project or whether or not I locked the car is when I miss opportunities and inevitably crash. When I think of nothing but what I’m doing I am calm and focused – it is after those times of calm and focus that I get my best ideas.

5. Commit – One way or the other in business and in surfing you have to commit. Commit to catching the wave. Commit to the project. The worst falls happen when one foot is on the board and the other is having second thoughts.

6. Breathe – Surfing is an adrenaline rush and often so is steering a business. There is nothing like the rush of catching a great wave or having your best year ever in business. But the excitement of the adrenaline can also cause rash decisions. Remembering to breathe through the excitement lets you maintain focus, and be aware of what is happening around you without losing the rush of adrenaline.

Christmas In June!36-Christmas-in-July-177895771-resized-600.jpg

Christmas in June? You may be thinking that we’re off our rocker but we have a point. Christmas and Holiday parties are going to sneak up on you…like they do every year.

Have you booked a venue? Because they’re filling up. What about entertainment? If you want a better band than last year you should make some calls ASAP! Or more easily make one call and we’ll take the gory details off your plate.

Planning events is just one of the things we do, so let us do what we do so that you can back to what you and your company does best. Heading into the third quarter you should be thinking about whether or not you’re going to hit or exceed your annual targets not about whether Santa’s going to show up on time.

To sweeten the pot a little bit more if you call us before July 15th to talk about your Christmas party we will give you 10% off of your quote. Ho! Ho! Ho!