Your Privacy Rights
In addition to the requirements of the Law Society, certain new federal legislation deal with your privacy rights. From January 1,2004, all businesses engaged in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (the “Act”) and the Canadian Standards Association Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information which it incorporates. These obligations extend to lawyers and law firms, including Pollock & Company. The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
Pollock & Company is responsible for the personal information we collect and hold. To ensure this accountability, we have developed this policy and trained our lawyers and support staff about our policies and practices. We have designated an official to be responsible for the day-to-day care and control of personal information.
Why Does Pollock & Company Need Personal Information?
Pollock & Company provides legal services to a wide range of clients. In doing so, we may produce direct marketing materials concerning our services and developments in the law.
For our individual clients, we collect information about the client’s legal issue including anything the client might have done or said that might affect their legal situation, so that we can advise the client as to his/her legal rights and responsibilities, his/her options for addressing the issue and then to carry out his/her instructions.
What personal information do we collect?
Personal information is any information that identifies you or by which your identity could be deduced.
If we did not collect and use your personal information, we could not provide you with legal services.
How do we collect your personal information?
We collect information only by lawful and fair means and not in an unreasonably intrusive way. Wherever 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;
- From a government agency or registry; and
- Your accountant.
In most cases, we will ask you to specifically consent if we collect, use or disclose your personal information. Normally, we would ask for your consent in writing or orally. Sometimes, your consent may be implied through your conduct with us.
Use of Your Information
We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to administer your file (time and billing databases) and to include you in any direct marketing activities. If you tell us that you no longer wish to receive information about our services or about new developments in the law, we will not send any further material.
In addition, from time to time, our firm may contact you requesting additional personal information to assist us in maintaining our contact or mailing lists, or to assist us in representing you.
Pollock & Company does not disclose your personal information to any third party to enable them to market their products and services. For example, we do not provide our client mailing lists to third parties.
Disclosure of your Personal Information
Under certain circumstances, Pollock & Company will disclose your personal information:
- When we are required or authorized by law to do so, for example if a court issues a subpoena;
- When you have consented to the disclosure;
- 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 establish or collect fees;
- If we engage expert witnesses on your behalf;
- If we retain other law firms in other jurisdictions on your behalf; or
- If the information is already publicly known.
Updating Your Information
Since we use 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.
Is My Personal Information Secure?
Pollock & Company takes all reasonable precautions to ensure that your personal information is kept safe from loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. Among the steps taken to protect your information are:
- Premises security;
- Restricted file access to personal information;
- Deploying technological safeguards like security software and firewalls to prevent hacking or unauthorized computer access.
- Internal password and security policies.
Access to Your Personal Information
You may ask for access to any personal information we hold about you. Summary information is available on request. More detailed requests, which require archive or other retrieval costs may be subject to our normal professional and disbursement fees.
If Pollock & Company holds information about you and you can establish that it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, Pollock & Company will take reasonable steps to correct it.
Can I be Denied Access to My Personal Information?
Your rights to access your personal information are not absolute.
We may deny access when:
- Denial of access is required or authorized by law (for example, when a record containing personal information about you is subject to a claim of legal professional privilege by one of our clients);
- Information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings against you;
- When granting you access would have an unreasonable impact on other people’s privacy;
- When to do so would prejudice negotiations with you;
- To protect our firm’s rights and property; or
- Where the request is frivolous or vexatious.
If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, we shall explain why.
Pollock & Company does not use your Social Insurance Number as a way of identifying or organizing the information we hold about you.
Can I request anonymity?
Whenever it is legal and practicable, we may offer the opportunity to deal with general inquiries without providing your name (for example, by accessing general information on our website).
Requests for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please contact us.
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at the following address:
112 Kent Street
Phone Number: 1-(613)-995-8210, or 1- (800)- 282-1376