Privacy is very important to us. We know that clients come to us with very personal problems and are trusting that we will keep their information confidential. We appreciate your confidence and take our responsibility to uphold your privacy very seriously.
According to the law, “Personal Information” means information about an identifiable individual, but does not include the name, title or business address or telephone number of an organization. However, we treat our clients' workplace information as confidential.
Accountability for Personal Information
The Firm is responsible for any personal information we hold. The Firm and those who act on our behalf must abide by PIPEDA, this policy and any applicable rules of professional conduct.
Identifying Purposes for Collecting, Using and Disclosing Personal Information
At or before the time Personal Information is collected the Firm will identify the purposes for which the information is collected.
We collect, use and disclose Personal Information relevant to clients’ legal matters and other information necessary to provide the requested legal services for which we have been retained. Personal Information is used to assess potential conflicts of interest, provide legal services to you and communicate with you. Personal Information may also be used to develop our precedent systems; send clients updates and publications; market our services; and manage our business operations. We also collect, use and disclose information for the purposes of client billing; meeting legal and professional obligations; meeting our accounting and insurance requirements; and as otherwise permitted or required by law or applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.
A client who seeks our services gives implied consent for the collection, use and disclosure of his or her Personal Information for authorized purposes, unless expressly instructing otherwise. When Personal Information that has been collected by the Firm is to be used for a purpose not previously identified, the new purpose will be identified prior to use. Unless the new purpose is permitted or required by law, consent will be required before the information can be used for that purpose.
Consent for the Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information
Generally speaking, the Firm requires consent in order to collect, use, or disclose Personal Information. However, there are some cases where the Firm may collect, use or disclose Personal Information without consent as permitted or required by law.
The Firm can assume that an individual’s request for legal advice constitutes implied consent for specific purposes, unless expressly instructed otherwise. If consent is sought, an individual may choose not to give consent. If consent is given, an individual may withdraw consent at any time, but the withdrawal cannot be retrospective. The withdrawal may also be subject to legal or contractual restrictions and reasonable notice.
Limiting Collection of Personal Information
The Firm limits the amount and type of Personal Information collected to that which is necessary to fulfill the purposes identified. This means we will not ask you questions or to provide us with documents unless they are truly needed.
Information is collected directly from the individual, unless the law permits or requires collection from third parties. However, from time to time, we may collect information from the government, or from third parties (such as family members) with your consent.
Limiting Use, Disclosure and Retention of Personal Information
Personal Information will not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as permitted or required by law. Personal Information will be retained only as long as necessary for the fulfillment of those purposes and to meet our professional obligations with respect to record retention. Personal Information that is no longer required to fulfill the identified purposes will be destroyed, erased, or anonymized.
Accuracy of Personal Information
The Firm will take reasonable steps to ensure that information is accurate, complete, and up to date. Clients are responsible to advise us of any changes to their Personal Information which may be relevant to the services we provide.
Safeguards for Personal Information
The Firm has put in place safeguards for the personal information we hold, which include:
• Physical safeguards
• Organizational safeguards
• Technological safeguards
For example, we shred paper documents we no longer require. We delete and/or destroy credit card information on file. We use different passwords for various accounts. We have an alarm system for the entire office and private locks on individual offices. We have a secure client portal that can be used to transmit sensitive documents.
The Firm requires anyone who collects, uses or discloses Personal Information on our behalf to be aware of the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of Personal Information. This is done through measures such as the signing of confidentiality agreements, privacy training, and contractual means. The Firm takes steps to ensure that the Personal Information we hold is protected against theft, loss and unauthorized use or disclosure. Care is used in the disposal or destruction of Personal Information, to prevent unauthorized parties from gaining access to the information.
Openness about Personal Information
Information about the Firm’s policies and practices relating to the management of Personal Information are available to the public, including contact information for our privacy officer, to whom complaints or inquiries can be made; the process for obtaining access to Personal Information we hold, and making requests for its correction; a description of the type of Personal Information we hold, including a general account of our uses and disclosures; and a description of how an individual may make a complaint to the Firm or to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
Individual Access to Personal Information
Individuals may make written requests to have access to their records of Personal Information. The Firm will respond to an individual’s request within reasonable timelines and costs to the individual, as governed by legislation. The Firm will take reasonable steps to ensure that the requested information is made available in a form that is understandable. Individuals who successfully demonstrate the inaccuracy or incompleteness of their Personal Information may request that we amend their information. In some cases, instead of making a correction, individuals may ask to amend a statement of disagreement to their file.
Please Note: In certain situations, the Firm may not be able to provide access to all the Personal Information we hold about an individual. Exceptions to the right of access requirement will be in accordance with law. Examples may include information that could reasonably be expected to result in a risk of serious harm or the information is subject to legal privilege.
Challenging Compliance with the Firm’s Privacy Policies and Practices
The Firm will investigate all complaints. If a complaint is found to be justified, the Firm will take appropriate measures to respond.