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 Hicks LeMoine Law . The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
Hicks LeMoine 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.
What is Personal Information?
Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. Personal information includes information that relates to any personal characteristics (e.g. gender, age, income, home address or phone number, ethnic background, family status), health (e.g. health history, health conditions, health services received by them) or activities and views (e.g. religion, politics, opinions expressed by an individual, an opinion or evaluation of an individual). Personal information does not include such things as your business address and telephone number which is not protected by privacy legislation.
Why is Personal Information Needed?
In order to be able to give legal advice to our clients, we need access to all relevant facts and information that relate to our retainer and to the representation of our clients. This information will necessarily include personal information about our clients and about individuals other than our clients.
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;
- 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.
Hicks LeMoine 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 anyone.
Disclosure of Your Personal Information
Under certain circumstances, Hicks LeMoine Law 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 requires us 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;
- 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?
Hicks LeMoine 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.
Access to Your Personal Information
The Act permits individuals to submit written requests to us to provide them with:
- their personal information under our custody or control;
- information about how their personal information under our control has been and is being used by us;
- the names of the individuals and organizations to whom their personal information under our control has been disclosed by us.
We will respond to requests in the time allowed by the Act and will make a reasonable effort to assist applicants and to respond as accurately and completely as reasonably possible. All requests may be subject to any fees and disbursements the law permits us to charge.
An individual’s ability to access his or her personal information under our control is not absolute. The Act provides that we must not disclose personal information when:
- the disclosure could reasonably be expected to threaten the safety or physical or mental health of an individual other than the individual who made the request:
- the disclosure can reasonably be expected to cause immediate or grave harm to the safety or to the physical or mental health of the individual who made the request;
- the disclosure would reveal personal information about another individual;
- the disclosure would reveal the identity of an individual who has provided personal information about another individual and the individual providing the personal information does not consent to disclosure of his or her identity.
The Act further provides that we are not required to disclose personal information when:
- the personal information is protected by solicitor-client privilege;
- the disclosure of the personal information would reveal confidential commercial information that, if disclosed, could, in the opinion of a reasonable person, harm the competitive position of an organization;
- the personal information was collected without consent for the purposes of an investigation, and the investigation and associated proceedings and appeals have not been completed;
- the personal information was collected or created by a mediator or arbitrator in the conduct of a mediation or arbitration for which he or she was appointed to act:(i) under a collective agreement,(ii) under an enactment, or(iii) by a court.
Requests for Correction of Personal Information
The law permits individuals to submit written requests to us to correct errors or omissions in their personal information that is in our custody or control. We will:
- correct the personal information and, if reasonable to do so, send correction notification to any other organizations to whom we disclosed the incorrect information; or
- decide not to correct the personal information, but annotate the personal information that a correction was requested but not made.
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;
- 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.
Hicks LeMoine Law does not use your Social Insurance Number as a way of identifying or organizing the information we hold upon you.
Communicating with Us
You should be aware the e-mail is not a 100% secure medium, and you should be aware of this when contacting us to send personal or confidential information.
Our Firm’s Privacy Officer
Our Privacy Officer is Lori Dow. If you have any questions, concerns or complaints in relation to your personal information you may contact her. She can be reached by phone at 902-667-7214, Ext 257or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are unsatisfied with the results you receive from Ms. Dow you can make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner. The Privacy Commissioner may also initiate a complaint.
A complaint can not be made to the Privacy Commissioner via e-mail. An individual may make a complaint by postal mail. The Privacy Commissioner’s mailing address is:
112 Kent Street
Where to obtain information about the Privacy Act
If an individual has general inquiries, the Privacy Commissioner may be contacted by the following methods:
Phone: (613) 995-8210
Fax: (613) 947-6850
TTY: (613) 992-9190
Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Website: www.privcom.gc.ca
Amherst Law Office:
15 Princess St. (PO Box 279)
Amherst, N.S. B4H 3Z2
Phone: (902) 667-7214
Fax: (902) 667-5886
David W. McNairn, LL.B. (Also of the NB Bar)
Joshua E Cormier, LL.B. (Also of the NB Bar)
Thomas L MacLaren, LL.B