Compliance rules and regulations set by both the major wireless carriers and applicable governing bodies dictate how, when, and where Text Message Marketing campaigns can be sent and, of course, who can receive them. While there are generally understood policies that apply to all programs in the mobile sphere, different countries can have supplemental guidelines to protect their residents from spam or unwanted marketing messages.

Canada is implementing new changes to their Canadian Common Short Code Compliance Policies, which will go into effect December 1st, 2023. Infractions or violations of said policies will be tiered based on severity and could result in penalties from small fines up to program suspension. It’s now more critical than ever to ensure your Text Message Marketing program is buttoned up and in adherence to all regulations to reach your subscribers and remain in good standing with the Canadian Telecommunication Association (CTA) and CASL compliance.

Are There Any New Rules to Follow?

The good news is there aren’t any additional policies coming into effect. Instead, the CTA has outlined new tiers for the severity of non-compliance and the infractions/penalties that go along with them. They have decided to implement these as a means of additional consumer protection and to prevent spam and malicious campaigns from being sent.

Canadian Text Message Marketing programs are always at risk of being audited, and the CTA is actively reviewing programs ahead of the upcoming holiday season. It’s critical that your program is always fully compliant, to minimize the risk of infractions and short code shutdown.

Why Else is Remaining Compliant Important?

Not only does maintaining mobile compliance in Canada (including per CASL rules!) keep you in good standing with the mobile carriers and prevent penalties, but it’s also a general good practice for upholding a positive brand image and engaging with your subscribers. Consumers are far more likely to opt in to receive text messages from a program that is respectful, trustworthy, and legitimate. ‘Express written consent,’ or explicit consent to opt-in, is a requirement for all Text Message Marketing programs provisioned in Canada. So it’s crucial that your subscription strategies look and feel authentic and remain functional to engage with as many consumers as possible.

Check out the CTA’s current official policy document that explains all the guidelines for Canadian mobile programs.

Will My Program Get Audited?

Your program has likely already been reviewed multiple times by the Canadian governing bodies – It’s a good sign if you’ve never heard from them! Just understand that right now programs are being looked at even closer, and you may be asked questions or receive instructions on slight changes to make. Here’s a shortlist of best practices to compare to your mobile campaigns and calls-to-action, if you haven’t in some time:

  • All subscription calls-to-action are clear, properly outlining expectations of your program and link to both your Mobile Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy (which are readily available on your website)
  • Subscription confirmation is triggered immediately upon attempt to join, including a double opt-in or age gate prompt, depending on your business needs
  • Additional disclaimers are included in welcome messages, including ‘Standard Message and Data Rates May Apply’ and ‘Message Frequency Varies’
  • All marketing messages are sent to subscribers based on their local time zone, sent between 9 AM and 9 PM only
  • Proper system message responses are firing upon requests for help, more information, or request to unsubscribe
  • Unsubscribed contacts are removed from receiving all campaigns immediately.
  • Messages do not contain content related to hate speech, profanity, depictions/endorsements of violence, or promote anything illegal
  • Messages do not phish for the recipient’s personal information through malicious links

Can Listrak Help Me?

You bet! Listrak is here to ensure your SMS program, no matter the provisioned country, is fully compliant. We take this very seriously, and our Mobile Operations team always helps to keep you abreast of changes, news, and updates needed for your program. For more information and assistance regarding the December 1 Canadian Compliance updates, contact your Account Manager.  

Still waiting to engage your customers via SMS or the Listrak platform? Now's a great time to start! Listrak's mobile team has over 30 years of combined experience, and the platform has compliance guardrails and functionality built-in, so you don't have to worry and manage all these requirements independently. Listrak will set you up for success and support your Text Message Marketing program as it grows and changes.

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