Free Wifi is widely available – in stores, cafés, malls, and airports for consumers to use once they sign up. It’s quite common for the sign-up process to request an e-mail address for the purposes of sending marketing communications.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) recently issued an enforcement advisory to remind organizations that under CASL, these marketing communications are considered commercial electronic messages (CEMs).
Aside from the e-mail address, sign-up forms may ask for a name, phone number, social media handle(s), country of residence, postal code or other identifying information. Consumers should be aware of the information they may be asked to provide and should know that their consent must be sought and expressly given in order to receive those CEMs. Agreeing to receive those CEMs may be a condition to access the WiFi network, and it is important that consumers have an opportunity to withdraw their consent at any time.
As noted above, to fulfill responsibilities under CASL, businesses and those providing Social WiFi must request consent to receive marketing communications from consumers signing up. The consent request must include:
- the purpose for which consent is being collected,
- the identity and contact information of the sender,
- a statement that tells the consumer they can revoke their consent at anytime,
- an unsubscribe mechanism that should be actioned within 10 days.
To ensure CEMs include the CRTC’s prescribed information requirements, CMA members are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the CRTC’s guidance on consent, and ensure CASL compliance remains a key priority by keeping employees up to date and implementing internal compliance programs.
The regulatory landscape is constantly changing and staying current is important. If you are unsure of where to turn, the Canadian Marketing Association provides guidance and support to its members on a wide variety of issues. Check our site for resources and stay up to date by subscribing to our Top 5 Picks e-newsletter through MyCMA.
Author: Florentina Stancu-Soare | Senior Manager, Regulatory and Consumer Affairs @CMA
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