Your Privacy Rights
We are responsible under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (the “Act”) for the personal information we collect and hold. To ensure accountability, we have developed this policy and trained our lawyers and support staff about our policies and practices.
What is Personal Information?
Personal information is defined in the Act as any information about an identifiable individual. It does not include general business contact information including your name, title, business address, and business telephone number.
What Personal Information do we collect?
The personal information we collect may include your name, home address and telephone number, information relevant to a client’s legal matter and other information incidental to our provision of legal services.
How do we collect your Personal Information?
We collect information only by lawful means. If 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;
- a government agency or registry;
- your employer;
- your accountant.
Purposes for which Personal Information is collected
We use your personal information for the primary purpose to provide legal advice and services to you and to represent you. Other purposes include:
1) Avoid conflicts of interest.
2) Manage our client databases for time and billing, administer accounts, and generally manage our client relationships.
3) Communicate with our clients and others on our mailing lists to distribute our newsletters and other publications.
4) Manage employment relationships and consider the hiring of prospective employees and members of our firm.
We do not disclose your personal information to any third party to enable them to market their products and services. We do not sell our client mailing lists or other personal information.
We collect only that personal information that is necessary for our purposes. We will retain personal information for as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes for which it was collected and as required by law. We have established minimum and maximum retention periods regarding the retention of personal information.
We will obtain the requisite consent to the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information, as required by applicable privacy legislation. Sometimes we ask for your consent in writing, but, often, we may accept your oral consent. We will take into account the sensitivity of the information we are collecting, using, and disclosing in determining how we obtain your consent. Usually, your consent may be implied by virtue of the circumstances. For example, it is implied that we can collect and use personal information of our clients in the course of our retainer.
It is also implied that an individual who voluntarily provides personal information to us has consented to the collection and use of this information.
It is further implied that clients who retain us, or parties adverse in interest to our clients, consent to the reasonable collection, use, and disclosure of their personal information for purposes of our representation of our clients.
Disclosure of your Personal Information
Under certain circumstances, we will disclose your personal information:
• when we are required or authorised by law to do so; for example, if a court issues a summons;
• when you have consented to the disclosure;
• when the legal services we are providing to you requires 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 establish or collect fees;
• if we engage a third party to provide administrative services to us, such as computer back-up services, computer technical services, and archival file storage, and the third party has comparable privacy protection while the information is processed or handled by it;
• if we engage expert witnesses on your behalf; and
• if we retain other law firms on your behalf.
Updating Your Information
Since we use your personal information to provide legal services to you, it is important that the information is accurate and up-to-date.
In order to ensure that your personal information is accurate, please inform us immediately of any changes in the information you have provided to us so that we can make any necessary changes.
Is Your Personal Information Secure?
We take all reasonable precautions to ensure that we keep your personal information safe from loss or theft as well as unauthorised access, disclosure, copying, use, or modification. These steps include:
• physically secure premises;
• deployment of technological safeguards like security software and firewalls to prevent hacking or unauthorised computer access;
• internal password policies.
Access to Your Personal Information
You may request, in writing, access to any personal information we hold about you. We will make all reasonable efforts to respond to your request within 30 days after receipt of such request. If we cannot respond to your request within this time, we will advise you in writing. Requests that involve archive, retrieval, or reproduction costs may be subject to a fee. We will notify you following receipt of your request of the approximate cost and give you the opportunity to withdraw your request if you wish to do so.
If we hold information about you and you can establish that it is not accurate, complete, and up-to-date, we will take reasonable steps to correct it.
Can You be Denied Access to your Personal Information?
Your rights to access your personal information are not absolute. Your access to personal information is subject to certain exceptions stipulated in the Act.
• when denial of access is required or authorised by law; for example, information protected by solicitor-client privilege;
• when to do so would likely reveal personal information about another individual;
• information relating to existing or anticipated legal proceedings against you;
• when to do so would reveal confidential commercial information; and
• information generated in the course of a formal dispute resolution process.
If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, we shall explain why.
We do not use your Social Insurance Number to identify or organise your personal information.
How to contact us?
You should direct all requests for access to personal information and complaints or other inquiries to:
Speigel Nichols Fox
30 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 400
Communicating with Us
You should be aware that e-mail is not a 100% secure medium. You should be aware of this if you wish us to converse with you and send material to you through this medium. We may send e-mails to individuals in our contact database to distribute a newsletter and advise of recent legal developments. These emails will contain an opt-out feature that allows you to unsubscribe if you do not wish to receive future emails from us in this regard.
On our web site, like most other commercial websites, we may monitor traffic patterns, site usage, and related site information to optimise our web service. We may provide aggregated information to third parties, but these statistics do not include any identifiable personal information.
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 we make a decision, unless you ask us not to retain the information. If we offer you a job, which you accept, we will retain the information in accordance with our privacy procedures for employee records.