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Social Media Policy

Broad View United has approved a Social Media Policy in our attempt to become compliant with the CASL – Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation regarding CEM’s (Commercial Electronic Messages) which came into effect July 1, 2014 and was updated July 1, 2017


For the purposes of this policy, the term social media includes websites, interactive online accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, photo-sharing accounts on such sites as Flickr and Picassa, video-sharing accounts such as YouTube, Livestream and Vimeo, online blogs and discussion forums. A section has been added to outline our goal to become compliant with the CASL – Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation regarding CEM’s (Commercial Electronic Messages) which came into effect July 1, 2014.

Purpose of the Church’s Use of Social Media

Social media provides us with diverse opportunities:

  • to connect regularly with people who are already active members of our faith community in affordable and accessible ways;
  • to connect with interested persons outside of our faith community in order to build larger networks for spiritual growth, engagement and societal transformation.

Social media can be much more than a tool to share information: it can be a virtual meeting place for people. It can provide another venue where the values and mission of our faith community get lived out and creatively expressed by all who participate. Social media allows church members and adherents to keep up with church activities when travel, illness, work commitments and other factors prevent them from attending in person. It also offers fresh ways for people to gather, share, and learn together on their spiritual journey. With social media, we tell our story in new ways, ways that say: “we’re prepared to be changed by you, and, hopefully, you by your connection with us”.

Conduct of Staff and Volunteers

All staff and volunteers posting to any social media are expected to:

  • Be professional, responsible, and respectful in all their communication.
  • Refrain from posting any confidential and sensitive information, personnel issues, work conflicts or personal grievances.
  • Refrain from using the pronoun “we” unless the response is on behalf of or authorized by the Board.
  • Only post what is public information, knowing that nothing posted is ever really lost or confidential.
  • Keep messages respectful, broad-minded and non-combative.
  • Some postings may emote controversy but all should be seen as personal comments and do not reflect the church position unless specifically stated.
  • Recognize that postings represent the congregation’s ministry and ensure that they are appropriate to the mission.
  • Add their initials to posts made on a church account to which several persons have administrator status.
  • If there is any question, uncertainty or concern about the proper nature of a post, consult with ministry staff, web master or communications committee before posting.
  • Provide their user name and password for any church social media account to the office and/or system administrator. Refrain from giving the user name and password to any unauthorized person.
  • Include a disclaimer on social media sites where it is possible or advised, as follows:
    • “The views and opinions expressed on this site are those of [person’s name] and do not reflect the views and opinions of Broad View United or the United Church of Canada.” However, they should also remember that readers may not distinguish between official comments made in social media for work and comments posted on a personal page or site and therefore, that in some sense, they are always speaking for the church.
    • Or:
      “The views and opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of BVU (Broad View United) or the United Church of Canada.”

Conduct of Members of the Public responding or commenting to posts on the church’s social media sites

  • Readers are welcome to respond, either agreeing or disagreeing with a post, but are expected to be respectful of the opinions of others.
  • Those submitting a comment are wholly responsible for the content of their comments.
  • Rants, rages, bashing, derogatory comments, profanity, comments that provoke discrimination or hatred of others, libellous or otherwise unlawful, abusive, immoral or obscene materials are not permitted and will be immediately removed from the site. If this is a repeated offence, the user will be barred from the site.
  • Erroneous information will be addressed by a polite response giving factual information in the comments.
  • If the posting is the result of an unhappy or negative experience, the site administrator may wish to notify the relevant parties and address the situation and propose a solution. Depending on the nature of the “complaint”, this may be done in the comments or taken off-line.
  • Responses by the administrator to comments should take into consideration transparency, citing reputable sources, timeliness, and a professional and compassionate tone.
  • Corporate followers or “friends” may be removed if their corporate identity is inconsistent with the values of the United Church of Canada (e.g., pornography site)

Privacy and Protection of Vulnerable Persons

  • Identifiable images of children containing names should only be posted with the consent of a parent or guardian, preferably in writing.
  • No individual, other than staff and church leadership, should be identified in a published/posted image by name without their written consent.
  • No email addresses or phone numbers of persons, other than staff and church leadership, shall be posted unless those individuals have provided them with permission for inquiries about a program or service.
  • When working with youth and young adults, remember that adults have more power in online relationships.
  • Depending on the nature of the group, accept either all or none of “friend” requests from youth.
  • For discussion groups, set up a group account that all members of the group or congregation can join. For the sub Facebook page – youth: Only youth and their leaders may post on this page. Leaders will remove any post deemed judgemental or inappropriate.
  • For those children ages 0-10, all communications will involve a parent/guardian whether by phone, email or text.
  • For children and youth, ages 11-17, private electronic communications from an adult must only come from staff/leaders who have current criminal records checks on file with BVU.
  • Use of humour in conversations, posts or electronic communications must not contain any innuendo that can be misinterpreted, is hurtful or in poor taste.
  • When large group emails are being sent to participant who may have not consented to their email address being shared, addresses for others should be in the BCC line so as to protect the privacy of others. In the text of the email, recipients should be made aware that clicking “reply all” will copy others hidden in the BCC line. As well, instructions on how to “unsubscribe” must also be included.

CASL – Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation regarding CEM’s – Commercial Electronic Messages

CBUC is aware of and working towards complying with the CASL requirements for CEM’s and that:

  1. the requirements come into affect as of July 1, 2014
  2. that the transition period for implied consent for sending CEM’s ends in July, 1, 2017 and
  3. that private rights of actions will be in force (eg: being able to sue) comes into effect after that date.

CEM – Commercial Electronic Message definition

  • An email, text, instant message, tweet, or any other electronic message that has as a part of its purpose to encourage the recipient to engage in “commercial activity.” Even if there is no profit, it can still count as commercial activity.
  • This includes but is not restricted to the following:
    • Emails seeking donations
    • Emails seeking volunteers / members
    • Emails selling tickets to an event / lottery
    • Emails promoting services
    • Emails promoting a charitable event / activity
    • Electronic newsletters
    • Emails promoting the organization / charity

BVU will seek to ensure that:

  1. recipients of our CEM’s have provided us with expressed or implied consent
  2. we will include information that identifies us (BVU) in all our CEM’s
  3. we will provide a contact for the recipient to respond to and to notify if they wish to stop receiving our CEM’s (unsubscribe option)
  4. all communications by staff via CEM’s will include, where possible, full name of sender, full church address, phone number, email address and church website address at the bottom of the communication.

BVU understands that consent is considered implied in the following situations.
We can send out emails without prior consent:

  1. to those who have contacted us via email,
  2. to those who have made a donation within the past two years,
  3. to someone who has volunteered with the church within the last two years,
  4. to any vendor or customer who has done business with us within the past two years.