Your Privacy Rights
From January 1, 2004, all businesses engaged in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (Canada) (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 Lawrences. The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
Under the Act, Lawrences 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?
The Act defines "personal information" as information about an identifiable individual, but does not include the name, title, business address, or telephone number of an employee of an organization.
Why Does Lawrences Need Personal Information?
Lawrences provides legal services to a wide range of clients. We collect and use personal information in order to provide legal services and fulfil our professional responsibilities to our clients. We also sometimes use the information to instruct our lawyers and staff on how to improve their knowledge and skills to better serve our existing and future clients. We also occasionally produce and distribute marketing materials about our services and new developments in the law; personal information is used to distribute these materials.
What Personal Information Does Lawrences Collect?
Lawrences collects personal information relevant to our retainers with our clients or incidental to the conduct of our practice. The information we collect may go beyond contact information and include financial information, as an example, depending on the nature of the matter for which we have been engaged.
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, however, we may obtain information about you from other sources. Without limitation, this might include, for example:
• your insurance company or financial institution;
• your real estate agent in a property transaction;
• a government agency or registry;
• your spouse or other family members;
• your employer;
• your accountant, financial planner or advisor or other professionals;
• other third parties such as witnesses.
We may also collect personal information that you provide to us voluntarily when using our website.
We will typically confirm a client's consent by a retainer letter or, if applicable, by a client's execution of a Lawrences' New Matter Report. As above, where practicable, we may also obtain a client's consent through oral communications. You may also consent by implied means, such as when you have previously provided personal information to us and continue to use our legal services on other matters, or where you provide us with your personal telephone number so that we can contact you at home or place of work.
Lawrences will not collect, use or disclose personal information without the requisite consent, except in certain extraordinary circumstances. Such extraordinary circumstances shall include, without limitation, when legal, medical or security reasons make it impossible or impractical to obtain consent or where we reasonably believe it is otherwise in your best interests.
Use of Your Personal Information
We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to fulfil our own professional responsibilities, to administer our file management system (time and billing databases), to manage our conflict-avoidance program, to conduct our business, including collecting payment for our services, and occasionally, to inform you about our services. Note, however, that 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 you any further information of this type.
Lawrences 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 list to other law firms or other business enterprises.
Lawrences will retain personal information as long as may be necessary to complete our retainer, fulfil our own professional responsibilities, conduct our business, satisfy the requirements of the Law Society of Upper Canada and our insurers, comply with legislation, or as may be required for the maintenance of our marketing activities and our conflicts-avoidance program.
Disclosure of your Personal Information
Lawrences may disclose your personal information under certain circumstances, including in the following:
• when we are required or authorized by law to do so, for example if a court issues a summons;
• when you have consented to the disclosure, expressly or by implication, or its disclosure is necessary in the matter about which we have been retained;
• when the legal services we are providing to you require us to 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 or professionals, or others, on your behalf; or
• if the information is already publicly known.
If you apply to Lawrences 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.
Updating Your Information
Since we use personal information to provide legal services, 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?
Lawrences 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 electronic personal information;
• deploying technological safeguards like password protection, 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. However, we may ask that we be reimbursed at our normal rates for the time and cost to us of such access.
If Lawrences holds personal information about you and you establish that it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, Lawrences 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 Lawrences or by one of our clients);
• the 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; or
• where the request is frivolous or vexatious.
If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, we will explain why.
Lawrences does not use your Social Insurance Number as a way of identifying or organizing the information we hold about you.
Can a Client 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 (Canada) requires us to confirm the identity of all new clients. It may also require us to disclose information to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (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 occasionally request personal information about you from the files of consumer reporting agencies
Communicating by E-Mail with Us
E-mail is not a completely secure medium and you should be aware of this when e-mailing us personal or confidential information.
During your use of our website, you may be asked to voluntarily provide certain personal information (for example, your name, mailing address, e-mail address and telephone number) in order to subscribe to our newsletters, email alerts and events. We use personal information provided by you only for the purposes for which you have provided it. We consider the fact that you have provided us with this information to signify your consent for us to use your contact information for the purposes for which it was provided. On our website, we provide an ongoing opportunity to unsubscribe or opt out of receiving any further e-mails and other information from us or you may e-mail PrivacyOfficer@Lawrences.com, or by telephoning (905) 452 6899 ext. 6260.
Requests for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please write to us at:
Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP
43 Queen Street West
Brampton, ON L6Y 1L9
Attention: Privacy Officer
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at
112 Kent Street