Your Privacy Rights
From January 1, 2004, all businesses engaged in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and the Canadian Standards Association Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information, which it incorporates. These obligations extend to lawyers and law firms. The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
Why We Need Personal Information
Any personal information collected by us is used only for the purpose of completing legal tasks on your behalf or for communicating with you in the future with respect to our services and developments in the law. We only collect personal information to the extent necessary for thosepurposes.
What personal information we collect
Personal information is any information that identifies you, or by which your identity could be deduced.
How we collect your personal information
We collect information only by lawful and fair means and not in an unreasonably intrusive way. Wherever possible we collect your personal information directly from you at the start of a retainer and in the course of our representation.
Sometimes we may obtain information about you from other sources: for example,
- your insurance company;
- your real estate agent in a property transaction;
- from a government agency or registry;
- your employer, if we are acting for you, at its request;
- your accountant.
In most cases, we obtain your personal information directly from you with your consent. By your retaining of our firm to act on your behalf, we assume your consent to obtain what limited personalinformation we require in order to complete our work.
Use of Your Information
We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to administer our client time and billing databases and possibly to communicate with you in the future concerning our services and developments in the law. If, at any time, you tell us that you no longer wish to receive information about our services, or about new developments in the law, we will not send any further material.
We do not disclose your personal information to any third party to enable them to market their products and services, or to any other third party for any purpose unconnected to our legal work on your behalf.
Disclosure of your Personal Information
The only circumstances in which we would disclose your personal information would be:
- when we are required or authorized by law to do so, for example if a court issues a subpoena;
- when you have consented to the disclosure;
- when the legal services we are providing to you require us to give your information to third parties (for example, to a lender in a real estate mortgage transaction) your consent will be implied, unless you tell us otherwise;
- where it is necessary to establish or collect fees;
- if we engage expert witnesses on your behalf;
- if we retain other law firms, professionals or service providers on your behalf.
Updating Your Information
Since we use your personal information to provide legal services to you, it is important that the information be accurate and up-to-date.
If during the course of the retainer, any of your information changes, please inform us so that we can make any necessary changes.
Security of Personal Information
We take all reasonable precautions to ensure that your personal information is kept safe from loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. Among the steps taken to protect your information are:
- premises security;
- restricted file access to personal information;
- protecting against unauthorized computer access;
- internal password and security policies
Access to Your Personal Information
You may ask for access to any personal information we hold about you.Summary information is available on request. More detailed requests which require archive or other retrieval costs may be subject to our normal professional and disbursement fees.
If, at any time, you learn that any information held by us is not accurate, complete or up-to-date, upon being advised by you, we will take all reasonable steps to correct it.
Access to Personal Information
In almost all circumstances, you are entitled to full access to all personal information held by us.
The following circumstances would, however, possibly permit us to deny access:
- denial of access is required or authorized by law (for example, when a record containing personal information about you is subject to a claim of legal professional privilege by one of our clients);
- information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings against you;
- when granting you access would have an unreasonable impact on other people’s privacy;
- when to do so would prejudice negotiations with you;
- to protect our firm’s rights and property;
- where the request is frivolous or vexatious.
If we deny your request for access to personal information that we shall, coincidental with such denial, explain our reasons for doing so in writing. We do not regularly obtain Social Insurance Numbers. If we do, those numbers are not used to identify or organize any other information held.
By the nature of legal services, we must record the identity of all clients. The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act also requires us to confirm the identity of all new clients. In addition, that Act may also require us to disclose information to FINTRAC in relation to certain large cash transactions.
To help us make credit decisions about clients, prevent fraud, check the identity of new clients and prevent money-laundering, we may on occasion, request information about you from the files of consumer reporting agencies.
Communicating with Us
You should be aware that e-mail is not a 100% secure medium, and you should be aware of this when contacting us to send personal or confidential information. In our use of e-mail, both in communicating with you and with others on your behalf, we will not generally use encryption or other security measures unless specifically requested to do so by you.
Requests for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please contact or write to the lawyer dealing with your file.
If, at any time or for any reason, you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at:
112 Kent Street
If you apply to us for a job, we need to consider your personal information, as part of our review process. We normally retain information from candidates after a decision has been made, unless asked not to retain the information. The information submitted by successful candidates will be retained in our employee records, which records are kept secured and segregated from other administrative records.