Who I am
I am a lawyer specializing in business law and not-for-profit and charity law. From time to time, I use consultants and agencies that may, in the course of their duties, have limited access to personal information that I hold. These include government agencies, other lawyers, computer consultants, office security and maintenance workers, bookkeepers and accountants, file storage service providers, staff and temporary workers, cleaners, and my landlord. I restrict their access to any personal information that I hold to the extent reasonably possible.
Compliance with PIPEDA
Personal Information Defined
Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. Personal information includes information that relates to their personal characteristics (e.g. gender, age, income, home address or phone number, ethnic background, family status), their health (e.g. health history, health conditions, health services received by them) or their activities and views (e.g. opinions expressed by an individual, an opinion or evaluation of an individual). Personal information is to be contrasted with business information (e.g. an individual’s business address and telephone number), which is not protected by PIPEDA.
Collection of personal information
- I collect, use and disclose personal information in order to provide legal services to my clients. This is the primary purpose for collecting personal information. I will seek to collect from you such personal information as may be relevant to allowing me to advise you with respect to your legal issues. This allows me to advise you as to your legal rights and responsibilities, your options for addressing the issue, and then to carry out your instructions.
- A secondary purpose may include the collection of personal information from third parties relevant to your legal issues so I can assess how the third party’s perception or information may affect your legal rights. This includes speaking to witnesses and others who may have relevant information with respect to your legal issues.
- A third primary purpose for collecting personal information is so that I can contact you as may be necessary, and for billing and collection purposes, or for the mailing of information newsletters.
- In addition to the above, lawyers licensed to practice law in Ontario are regulated by the Law Society of Ontario. The Law Society of Ontario may inspect my records and interview my staff as part of its regulatory activities in the public interest.
- In addition to regulation by the Law Society of Ontario, clients often have questions with respect to services rendered. For this reason, I will retain client information for a minimum of ten years.
- You may choose to opt out of some of the related or secondary purposes. However, certain of the related or secondary purposes cannot be opted out of it (e.g. external regulation).
- By signing the retainer agreement, I have obtained your consent to the collection, use and disclosure, to the extent necessary, of your personal information. If there is information that you do not consent to us disclosing, please advise.
About Members of the General Public:
- My primary purpose for collecting personal information from members of the general public is to gather and review evidence that is relevant to a legal issue affecting you.
- I also collect information from the general public in order to assemble a contact database so that I may contact them with respect to discussing various issues from time to time, as needed (i.e. the sending of newsletters). I try to obtain the consent to such dissemination of information, wherever possible. Upon request, I will immediately remove any personal information from my distribution or contact list.
About Contract Workers:
- For people who are contracted to do work for me (e.g. temporary workers and independent contractors) my primary purpose for collecting personal information is to ensure that I can contact them in the future, and for necessary work-related communications.
Protecting personal information
In order to protect personal information, I have put in place of number of safeguards, including:
- Paper information is either under supervision or secured.
- I am contracting, where possible, with external consultants and agencies with access to personal information so as to ensure that they adhere to privacy agreements with me.
Retention and destruction of personal information
As indicated, I am required to retain personal information for some time to ensure that I can answer any questions that you may have and so that I may remain accountable to external regulatory bodies. I keep your personal contact information in my database. However, if you request, I will remove such contact information as soon as possible. All paper files containing any personal information that are destroyed are destroyed by shredding.
You can look at your information
With some exceptions, you have a right to see what personal information I hold about you. I will also try to help you understand any information that you do not understand (e.g. short-forms, technical language, etc.). If there is a problem, I ask that you put your request in writing. If I cannot give you access, I will tell you within 30 days, if possible, and tell you the reason, as best I can, as to why I cannot give you the access. If I collect personal information about you for a client, there is a good chance that the information is protected by solicitor and client privilege and you will not be given access to it without my client’s consent.
If you believe there is a mistake in the information that I have, you have the right to ask for it to be corrected. This applies to factual information and not to any professional opinions that I or others may have formed. I may ask that you provide documentation to prove that my files are wrong. Where I agree that I made a mistake, I will make the correction and notify anyone that I have sent the information to. If I do not agree that I have made a mistake, I will still agree to include in our file a brief statement from you on the point and I will forward that statement to anyone else who received the earlier information.
If you have any questions, please contact me at:
If you wish to make a formal complaint about my privacy practices, you may make it in writing to me. I will acknowledge receipt of your complaint, ensure that it is investigated promptly, and ensure that you are provided with a formal decision and reasons in writing. This policy is made under PIPEDA. It is a complex Act and provides some additional exceptions to the privacy principles set out herein.
For more general inquiries, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Canada oversees the administration of privacy legislation in the private sector. The Commissioner also acts as a kind of ombudsman for privacy disputes. The Information and Privacy Commissioner can be reached at:
Information and Privacy Commissioner
112 Kent Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1H3
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