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DEC DATA Taking Action to Address Issue of Deceased Contacts

[Port Hope, April 2024] - DEC Data, a member of the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA), is proud to announce a significant step forward in addressing a long-standing issue faced by families across Canada: the inundation of direct marketing communications addressed to deceased loved ones.

For years, families grappling with the loss of a loved one have been faced with the distressing scenario of receiving multiple letters from direct marketers, predominantly non-profit organizations (NFPs), even after notifying these organizations of the death. This problem is further exacerbated as NFPs often share donor data with similar organizations, resulting in families receiving communications from entities with which they have no prior relationship. Despite efforts to notify marketers of a loved one's passing, families frequently continue to receive 20 or more letters, with the standard response being that changes to their systems may take time to implement.

Recognizing the need for change, DEC Data initiated a dialogue with the Canadian Marketing Association to address this issue head-on. This collaboration has resulted in a recent amendment to the Canadian Marketing Code of Ethics and Standards introducing a new section specifically dedicated to handling communications for deceased individuals.

The new section emphasizes the importance of treating requests to cease communications for deceased individuals with special care. Upon receiving such requests, businesses are now obligated to promptly add the deceased individual's name and address to an internal 'Do Not Contact' list and cease all communications, including pre-printed letters already in the pipeline for mailing. Furthermore, marketers are urged to collaborate closely with agencies and providers to ensure the timely removal of deceased individuals from contact lists and databases, with checks conducted every 6-8 weeks to prevent inadvertent mailings.

"This amendment represents a significant step forward in ensuring greater sensitivity and respect in direct marketing practices, particularly in times of loss," stated Martin McMillan, Senior Partner at DEC Data. "By adhering to this new code, all CMA members are committed to proactively addressing the concerns of grieving families and minimizing any unnecessary distress during an already difficult time."

With the implementation of this new code, all credible direct marketers in Canada are now required to regularly review their contact lists for deceased records and update them accordingly, providing families with the reassurance that their loved one's memory will be respected.

For more information about DEC Data's involvement in this initiative or to inquire about the new code of ethics, please contact

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