As of January 1, 2004, all Canadian organizations engaged in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA“) and the Canadian Standards Association Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information incorporated by reference into PIPEDA. These obligations apply to all lawyers and law firms, including SRTS.
In providing legal services to clients, SRTS often receives, collects and uses personal information.
Collecting Personal Information
SRTS receives and collects personal information in accordance with the law. Generally, personal information is received and collected from you. Such receipt and collection may be done at the start of our relationship or during the course of the representation or retainer. SRTS considers all personal information private.
Sometimes SRTS may obtain information about you from other sources including, for example:
- from a government agency or registry;
- other professionals who serve you, such as your accountant;
- other parties or witnesses in the context of litigation;
- other parties or participants in a commercial transaction; and,
- other possible sources, depending on the nature of the retainer.
In most cases, if SRTS receives, collects, uses, or discloses your personal information, it will obtain your consent. Sometimes SRTS will ask for your consent in writing, but in some cases, SRTS may accept your oral consent. Sometimes your consent may be implied through your conduct or the nature of our retainer. Should you withdraw your consent, that may impact on SRTS’s ability to serve you and to maintain our relationship with you.
Use of Personal Information
SRTS uses your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to administer our client (time and billing) databases, to build and to maintain the firm’s expertise and knowledge, and to include you in our information distribution and marketing activities. If you tell SRTS that you no longer wish to receive information about developments in the law or our services, you can ask that we not send any further material to you.
Disclosure of Personal Information
SRTS does not disclose your personal information to third parties to enable them to market their products and services.
SRTS may disclose your personal information. These are some examples, which include, but is not an exhaustive list:
- when you have consented to the disclosure;
- when we are required or authorized by law to do so, including, for example, if a court issues a warrant or a subpoena;
- in order to comply with the requirements of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the regulatory body that governs the practice of law in Ontario;
- when the legal services we are providing to you require us to give your information to third parties (for example a lender in a real estate mortgage transaction) your consent will be implied, unless you tell us otherwise;
- where it is necessary to collect fees or disbursements;
- if we engage a third party to provide administrative services to us (like computer back-up services, archival file storage, or insurance) and the third party is bound by obligations regarding privacy which are consistent with this policy;
- if we engage expert witnesses on your behalf; or
- if we retain another law firm on your behalf.
Updating Your Information
Since SRTS uses 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. SRTS may also periodically inquire of you whether your personal information is accurate and up-to-date.
Securing Personal Information
SRTS takes measures to ensure that your personal information is kept safe from loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. Among the steps taken to protect your personal information are:
- secure premises;
- employee confidential information agreements;
- consultant confidential information agreement;
- secure computer environment to prevent unauthorized computer access; and
- internal password and security policies.
- SRTS ensures that any of our employees who deal with personal information are properly trained and are aware of the necessary and appropriate measures required to protect personal information
You should be aware that e-mail is not an entirely secure medium, and you should be aware of this when contacting us to send personal or confidential information.
Accessing Personal Information
You may ask for access to personal information SRTS holds about you.
Detailed requests which require archive or other retrieval costs may be subject to our normal professional and disbursement fees.
Your right to access your personal information is not absolute. There are a number of situations where SRTS may deny access. If SRTS denies your request for access to, or refuses a request to correct personal information, we will provide a reason or reasons for doing so.
To help us make credit decisions about clients, to try to prevent fraud, and to check the identity of new clients, on occasion we may request information about you from the files of consumer reporting agencies.
SRTS will comply with the guidelines of the Law Society of Upper Canada.
SRTS’s website contains links to other sites, which are not governed by this Policy.
On SRTS’s website, like most other commercial websites, we may monitor traffic patterns, site usage and related site information in order to optimize our web service. We may provide aggregated information to third parties, but these statistics do not include any identifiable personal information.
Requests for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please contact the lawyer with whom you normally deal or write to our Privacy Contact at:
Nancy J. Tourgis, Partner
Solmon Rothbart Tourgis Slodovnick LLP
375 University Avenue