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Your Privacy Rights
From January 1, 2004, all businesses engaged in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents 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 WP Law. The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information. WP Law 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.
Why Do We Need Personal Information
WP Law provides legal services and products to a wide range of clients. WP Law is governed by the by-laws of the Law Society of Upper Canada which sets out the professional and ethical obligations of lawyers. By-law 7.1, Operational Obligations and Responsibilities, Part III, Client Identification and Verification outlines our professional obligation to collect personal information. In addition, WP Law produces direct marketing materials concerning its services and developments in the law.
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, both 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;• your employer, if we are acting for you, at its request;• your accountant.
In most cases, we shall ask you to specifically consent, if we collect, use, or disclose your personal information. Normally, we ask for your consent in writing, but in some circumstances, we may accept your oral consent. 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 our client (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. WP Law 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 other law firms.
Disclosure of your Personal Information
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?
WP Law 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.
How Long is Your Personal Information Kept/Stored and Why?
All personal information collected for the purposes of client services will be copied and stored along with the client’s corresponding file. Law Firms and Licensees are required by law to preserve the client files appropriatelythroughout the duration of the client’s legal relationship with the Licensee. Upon closing of a Client File provisions of the Limitations Act, 2002, recommend an appropriate retention period of 15 years following the closure of a file. However, due to factors of the nature and complexity of a matter, file retention may vary. Any copies of documentsthat can be used as precedents or in handling other matters indefinitely, such as legal memoranda, may be removed from a file or copied and stored in a central repository for future use. If such were to occur, all personalinformation within the meaning of PIPEDA will be stripped and client confidentiality will be maintained in accordance with the Law Society of Ontario’s (LSO) Chapter 3 (3.3) of the rules of professional conduct
For further information please see the Guide to Retention and Destruction of Closed Client Files for Lawyers.
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 feess.
WP is committed to responding to and addressing your
concerns in an appropriate and reasonable manner. However, as an individual,
you are entitled to a response within statutorily set period of time. Following
Part 1 of the PIPEDA, Protection
of Personal Information in the Private Sector,
section 8(3) provides that ‘an organization shall
respond to a [written] request with due diligence and in any case not later
than thirty days after receipt of the request’. An organization may extend the
time limit for no more than an additional thirty days from this period upon
conditions stipulated in the following section, 8(4).
If WP Law holds information about you and you can establish that it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, WP Law 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:• it is required or authorized by law (for example, when a record containing personal information about you is protected by solicitor-client privilege);• to do so would reveal confidential commercial information, and the personal information cannot be severed from the record;• to do so could reasonably be expected to threaten the life or security of another individual, and the personal information cannot be severed from the record; or• the information was 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. WP Law does not use your Social Insurance Number as a way of identifying or organizing the information we hold upon 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). The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act requires us to confirm the identity of all new clients. It may also require us disclose information to FINTRAC in relation to certain large cash transactions.
To help us make credit decisions about clients, prevent fraud, check the identity of new clients and prevent money-laundering, we may, with your consent, request information about you from the files of consumer reporting agencies.
Communicating with Us by Email
You should be aware that e-mail is not a 100% secure medium, and you should be aware of this when contacting us to send personal or confidential information.
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at112 Kent Street,Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1H31.800.282.1376.
If you apply for employment to WP Law, we need to consider your personal information, as part of our review process. We normally retain information from candidates after a decision has been made, unless you ask us not to retain the information. If we offer you a position, which you accept, the information will be retained in accordance with our privacy procedures for employee records.
The use of this website does not generate a solicitor client relationship. Before we agree to accept you as a client, you will be notified by our office in writing. We reserve the right to decline retai