Personal information relates to the personal characteristics of identifiable individuals. Examples of personal information include an individual's name, gender, income, age, home address or phone number. Personal information is to be contrasted with business information, such as an individual's business address and telephone number. Business information is not covered by privacy legislation.
The commercial nature of our practice is such that we rarely collect or use personal information in any form. The following is a description of how we protect personal information and the narrow set of exceptions to this.
We collect personal information for the following limited purposes:
- to enable us to serve our clients
- to enable us to contact and bill our clients
The collection of personal information is limited to only that which is necessary for these purposes. We do not use personal information to sell to direct marketing agencies or provide it to anyone outside the firm.
We do not collect personal information without consent. Before engaging our services, prospective clients are provided with a form explaining our privacy policies and asking for consent to collect personal information.
A number of measures are taken to ensure the security of our clients' personal information. These include the following:
- we have designated an information officer to be responsible for the care and control of personal information
- our firm restricts the collection of personal information to that required for the purposes noted above
- once personal information is no longer required for the purposes noted above and under the rules of the Law Society of Upper Canada, it is destroyed in due course
- paper information is under supervision
- we destroy paper information by shredding, electronic information by deletion, and when hardware is discarded, we ensure that the hard drive is destroyed
Notwithstanding our commitment to protecting our clients' personal information, there are some limited instances where we are obliged to disclose information without consent. These are the following:
- where the information is known to the public
- where required by law or by order of a tribunal
- where we believe, upon reasonable grounds, that there is an imminent risk to an identifiable person or group of death or serious bodily harm
- - where it is alleged that an associate or employee of the firm is guilty of a criminal offence.
In such circumstances, we will not disclose more information than is required.
As noted above, a designated information officer is responsible for the care and control of all personal information at the firm. We welcome any requests to verify the accuracy of the personal information we have, and the identity of any parties to whom we may have had reason to disclose the information.
Should any of our clients wish to make a complaint about our privacy practices, we invite them to notify our information officer or contact any of our professionals who have assisted in serving them. We will investigate all complaints and provide a timely written response. Should any complaint be found to be justified, we will take appropriate measures to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the client.
For more general inquiries, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Canada oversees the administration of privacy legislation in the private sector. The Information and Privacy Commissioner can be contacted at:
112 Kent Street
phone (613) 995-8210