TORONTO—More than half of small business owners have taken no steps to comply with Canada’s sweeping anti-spam rules less than a week before they are set to take effect, according to a new survey.
Conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the survey found only 15 per cent of small business owners are fully aware of the requirements of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), and a further 62 per cent have taken no steps to comply with the new regulations.
“Most small business owners don’t think of themselves as spammers,” CFIB president Dan Kelly said in a statement about the results. “But under the new law, everyday interactions with customers and potential customers will be considered spam without a significant investment to document the right permissions.”
Set to go into effect July 1, CASL requires businesses to get consent to send business emails, keep a record of those consents, and to add an unsubscribe feature to every email message.
The required changes can be significant and costly, according to the CFIB, with one small business allegedly told it would cost in the neighbourhood of $30,000 to $50,000 to be in full compliance with the laws.
The CFIB goes on to blast the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), one of the federal agencies responsible for enforcing CASL, for its “less-than-stellar” support for businesses before the legislation takes effect.
“Businesses support the idea of reducing spam, but everything we’re hearing suggests that the current rules need to be made small business-friendly,” said Kelly.
CFIB executive vice-president Laura Jones goes on to call on the federal government to put in more work to make the legislation work for Canadian small business.
“The government has repeatedly insisted that CASL was designed to go after the worst offenders, and not the general business population,” Jones said. “Small businesses want to comply with the spirit of the law, but implementing the letter of the law will be a challenge.”