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Horizon bracing for anti-spamming legislation

Posted on June 26, 2014 by Taber Times

Canadian anti-spamming legislation (CASL) will soon be here and Horizon School Division will need to prepare.

“It takes affect July 1, 2014, and it will have a significant impact on schools. It will no longer allow schools or any commercial venture or individual to be sending e-mails or any kind of electronic communication like texts or other social media requesting any sort of business venture,” said Wilco Tymensen, superintendent of schools for Horizon School Division at the board of trustees meeting on June 17.

Examples in a school setting could be e-mails sent to students or parents, perhaps asking for the purchase of a yearbook.

“You would not be allowed to send that. If the school wants to send communication home to the parents saying ‘do you want to have hot lunch this month’ or ‘we have a book club, do you want to buy books for $1 apiece,’ you can no longer send communication to parents because you are requesting them to spend money on something,” said Tymensen.

“That is against the law now to my understanding unless you have written consent or implied consent.”

The legislation will most likely make Horizon end up having to draft a written consent form within student registration every year.

“The new act basically says once you’ve got written approval, it stays in perpetuity forever until they unsubscribe. Once they register for school, it will stay on there. Do you want to receive electronic communication from the school in regards to a list of items and other commercial ventures,” said Tymensen. “When they say yes, we can then put them on our mailing list and give our communication to those individuals and every e-mail that has any kind of specification for that will also have to have an unsubscribe button and you’ll have to keep track of those who choose not to keep receiving the e-mails.”

It will affect not only students, but teachers as well with professional development as an example.

“You can say this is a great opportunity for a teacher with some PD that costs $200, you should go, but that’s actually against the law as well,” said Tymensen.

“I’ve communicated with all our staff because our staff sends e-mail communication to parents, they send about yearbooks, they send out information about other activities that cost money, so I’ve told them not to send any electronic communication after July 1. Our homework this summer is create policies and practices that will put us in compliance with this legislation.”

If you commit a violation under any of Section 6 to 9 of CASL, then you may be required to pay an administrative monetary penalty (AMP). The maximum amount of an AMP, per violation, for an individual is $1 million and for a business it is $10 million. CASL sets out a list of factors considered in the determination of the amount of the AMP.

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