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 BSLSC. The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
BSLSC 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.
BSLSC provides legal services and products to a wide range of clients. In doing so, it produces direct marketing materials concerning its services and developments in the law.
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.
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:
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.
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.
BSLSC 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.
Under certain circumstances, BSLSC will disclose your personal 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.
BSLSC 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:
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 BSLSC holds information about you and you can establish that it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, BSLSC will take reasonable steps to correct it.
Your rights to access your personal information are not absolute. We may deny access when:
If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, we shall explain why. BSLSC does not generally use your Social Insurance Number as a way of identifying or organizing the information we hold upon you, although your SIN may be used to identify and differentiate you from other individuals with the same or similar names.
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).
To help us make credit decisions about clients, prevent fraud, check the identity of new clients and prevent money-laundering, we may on occasion, request information about you from the files of consumer reporting agencies.
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 to disclose information to FINTRAC in relation to certain large cash transactions.
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 have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please write to our Privacy Contact at:
33 Bloor Street East Toronto
ON M4W 3H1
Attention: Howard Steinberg
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at:
112 Kent Street,
Ottawa, ON K1A 1H3
If you apply to BSLSC for a job, 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 job, which you accept, the information will be retained in accordance with our privacy procedures for employee records.
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