Your Privacy Rights
Since 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 WVCD. The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
Why Does WVCD Need Personal Information?
WVCD provides legal advice and services to a wide range of clients including clients of our unique e2r Solutions product in employment law and human resources consulting. In doing so, we produce direct marketing materials concerning our services and developments in the law. Of course we also need personal information for accounting and invoicing purposes as well as to communicate with our clients about their legal issues.
What personal information do we collect?
Personal information is any information that identifies you, or by which your identity could be deduced. We collect and use your personal information because it is necessary to do so in order to provide legal advice and services. The information is relevant to accounting and invoicing, corresponding with you and often for the substantive issues on which we give advice.
We also collect personal information about our employees in order to manage and administer their compensation and benefits.
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 some cases, we shall ask you to specifically consent, if we collect, use, or disclose your personal information. Normally, we ask for your express oral or written consent. Sometimes, your consent may be implied through your conduct with us. For example, when you give us your mailing address, we assume you have consented to the use of that address to mail reporting letters, documents or an invoice.
Use of Your Information
We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to administer our client (including time and billing) databases and to include you in any direct marketing activities we may undertake for services that we believe will be of interest to you. 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.
WVCD 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 or any other product or service suppliers, unless you have specifically asked us to provide you with a referral for such products or services.
Disclosure of your Personal Information
Under certain circumstances, WVCD 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 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?
WVCD 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 WVCD holds information about you and you advise us that it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, WVCD 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;
- 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. WVCD 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 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. We may communicate with you by telephone, facsimile, in writing by mail and courier and by email. In each case we will take reasonable steps appropriate to the medium to protect your privacy.
Requests for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please write to our Privacy Officer, Mark Woolgar at:
70 The Esplanade, Suite 401
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at:
112 Kent Street
If you apply to WVCD for a job, we need to consider your personal information, as part of our review process. We may 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.
On our website, like most other commercial websites, we may monitor traffic patterns, site usage and related site information in order to optimize our web service. We may provide aggregated information to third parties, but these statistics do not include any identifiable personal information.