Solicitor-client privilege and the duty of confidentiality have been, and continue to be, cornerstones of the legal profession. At Emond Harnden LLP, we continue to meet these important obligations. We also have the broader commitment to protect the personal information we collect, use and disclose in the course of managing our law firm and providing legal advice and services to our clients. The following policy outlines our personal information practices in keeping with our obligations under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).
1. Personal Information
PIPEDA defines “personal information” as any information about an identifiable individual. This includes objective information such as salary ranges or ages. It also includes subjective information such as job evaluations. However, personal information does not include business contact information, including your name, title or position, business address, or telephone number.
Steven Williams can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 613-940-2737 or by mail:
707 Bank Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 3V1
Attention: Privacy Officer
3. Purposes for Collecting, Using or Disclosing Personal Information
Our lawyers and staff provide the expertise, advice and advocacy that employers need to manage their workplace effectively in changing times. In order to meet our clients’ needs, we collect, use and disclose personal information for the following purposes:
- to establish and foster client relationships;
- to manage and maintain ongoing client relationships;
- to perform legal services, representing clients’ interests and provide legal advice;
- to avoid legal conflicts of interest and fulfill all other legal duties;
- to distribute our invitations to events to individuals who subscribe to our electronic and regular mailing lists;
- to distribute our information updates to the subscribers of our newsletters;
- to exchange personal information with third parties in the context of, and preparation for, legal proceedings, including but not limited to litigation, labour arbitrations, labour board hearings, mediations, and negotiations;
- to issue invoices, administer accounts and accounts receivable, process payments, and to fulfil other contractual obligations;
- to maintain, develop and manage our document management, knowledge-management and precedent systems and databases;
- to manage and maintain our information technology;
- to recruit potential employees;
- to manage our own human resources (payroll, benefits, and so on); and
- to comply with, applicable legal or regulatory requirements or provisions.
Before we collect personal information, the purposes for the collection, as well as the purposes for its intended use or disclosure, will be clearly identified to the individual. We will then obtain consent from the individual. This consent will either be express, especially when the information is particularly sensitive, or it will be implied. For example, when someone contacts Emond Harnden LLP seeking legal advice and she voluntarily provides us with her personal information, it is implied that she wishes us to use that information for the purpose of providing that legal advice or service. We will also imply consent for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information about individuals involved in matters and/or proceedings adverse in interest to our clients.
Individuals can withdraw their consent at any time by contacting the Privacy Officer. In the case of our eNewsletters, we offer a simple and effective “opt-out” feature for individuals to withdraw their consent to the electronic mailings. Please note however, that due to our statutory, regulatory and professional obligations, withdrawing consent for certain uses and disclosures may affect our ability to continue to provide a client with the advice or services he is receiving or would like to receive.
There are instances where we can or must collect, use or disclose personal information without consent. For example,
- if we need to collect or use information because it is clearly in the individual’s interest and consent is not available in a timely way;
- if we need to use or disclose information for an emergency that threatens an individual’s life, health or security;
- if we are investigating a breach of an agreement or contravention of federal or provincial law, and obtaining consent from the subject of the investigation would compromise the availability or accuracy of the information;
- if we collect information that is publicly available as specified in regulations;
- if we need to disclose information to collect a debt an individual owes to Emond Harnden LLP;
- if we need to disclose information to comply with a subpoena, a warrant or an order made by a court or tribunal; and
- if we are required to disclose by law.
5. Limited Collection, Use, Disclosure and Retention
We limit the collection, use and disclosure of personal information to that which is required to fulfil the purposes listed in this policy. As stated above, the purposes for the collection of personal information, as well as the purposes for its intended use or disclosure, will be clearly identified to the individual before we collect it. Should a new purpose arise for the use or disclosure of personal information, we will obtain fresh consent for that new purpose, unless one of the exceptions listed above applies to the situation.
The retention of personal information is often governed by our statutory, regulatory or professional obligations. Even if this is not the case, we retain personal information only for as long as is required to meet its intended purposes. When personal information is no longer required to fulfil its intended purpose, it is either destroyed or rendered anonymous in such a way as to prevent accidental disclosure.
We make every effort to ensure the personal information we collect, use and disclose is as accurate and up-to-date as is required to fulfill the purposes listed above. If an individual’s personal information requires amendment, she needs only contact our Privacy Officer to ensure that the correction is made. Clients are encouraged to contact their lawyer to update their personal information. However, in order to provide individuals with a professional level of service and to maintain appropriate contact preferences, we may take the initiative and ask for updated personal information from time to time.
We protect the personal information under our control from loss, misuse, prohibited access, and unauthorized alteration. This protection is provided by physically secure facilities, password protection, standard security practices and tools, and well-defined internal policies and practices.
At Emond Harnden LLP, we are committed to the protection of your privacy. It is important to us that our policies are clear and easily available. The most up-to-date version of our policy will always be posted on our Web site at www.ehlaw.ca or will be available by contacting our Privacy Officer, Steven Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-940-2737.
9. Access to Your Own Personal Information
Clients may review any personal information concerning themselves we have on file in our offices by contacting their lawyer. Individuals who are not clients may request access to personal information we hold about them by e-mailing or writing your request to the Privacy Officer.
It is important to note that there will be instances when we can not provide access to your personal information. For example, if the information is protected by solicitor-client privilege; if it is generated in the course of a formal dispute resolution process; if it is about another individual where disclosure would reveal confidential commercial information; if it was collected while we were investigating a breach of an agreement or contravention of federal or provincial law; or if it was disclosed to the police or other lawful authorities and we are required to withhold the fact of the disclosure.
If you are concerned about the access we have provided or wish to advise us of inaccuracies in the information, you may contact our Privacy Officer or, in the case of clients, your lawyer.
We will respond to complaints from individuals or questions about our compliance with this policy and with PIPEDA. We will investigate and attempt to resolve all complaints. To challenge our compliance with this policy please contact our Privacy Officer.
If you have any questions or concerns about your privacy and our role in protecting it, please contact our Privacy Officer.
If the Privacy Officer is unable to resolve the concern, individuals can contact the Privacy Commissioner of Canada at www.privcom.gc.ca or at:
30 Victoria Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 1H3
Toll free: 1-800-282-1376