Personal Information – Personal information means information about an identifiable individual, but does not include the name, title or business address or telephone number of an employee of an organization.
PIPEDA – All Canadian organizations engaged in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) and the Canadian Standards Association Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information incorporated by reference into PIPEDA. These obligations extend to lawyers and law firms, including Kate Dewhirst.
Personal Information at Kate Dewhirst
Kate Dewhirst provides legal services to a wide range of clients. In doing so, we may collect and use personal information. As well, Kate Dewhirst may send information and marketing materials concerning developments in the law and our services to individuals.
Collecting Personal Information
We collect personal information fairly and in accordance with the law. Generally, we collect your personal information directly from you. Such collection may be done at the start of our relationship or during the course of our retainer. With respect to our institutional clients, we may collect information about your directors, officers, independent contractors and employees.
Sometimes we may obtain information about you from other sources including, for example:
- from a government agency or registry;
- your website and other public sources of information;
- other professionals who serve you;
- other parties or witnesses in the context of litigation; and
- other parties or participants in a commercial transaction.
We may collect personal information from candidates for employment to assess qualifications.
In most cases, if we collect, use, or disclose your personal information, we will obtain your consent. Sometimes we will ask for your consent in writing, but in some cases we may accept your oral consent. Sometimes your consent may be implied through your conduct with us or the nature of our retainer. Should you withdraw your consent for us to collect, use or disclose your personal information, it may impact on our ability to serve you and to maintain our relationship.
Use of Personal Information
We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to administer our client (time and billing) databases, to build and to maintain our expertise and knowledge, and to include you in our information distribution and marketing activities. If you no longer wish to receive information about developments in the law or our services, you can ask us not to send any further material.
Disclosure of Personal Information
Kate Dewhirst does not disclose your personal information to third parties to enable them to market their products and services.
Under certain circumstances we may disclose your personal information. Some examples are:
- when you have consented to the disclosure;
- when we are required or authorized by law to do so, including, for example, if a court issues a warrant or a subpoena;
- in order to comply with the requirements of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the regulatory body that governs the practice of law in Ontario;
- when the legal services we are providing to you require us to give your information to third parties (in which case your consent will be implied, unless you tell us otherwise at the outset of the retainer);
- where it is necessary to collect fees or disbursements;
- if we engage a third party to provide administrative services to us (such as computer back-up services, archival file storage, or insurance) and the third party is bound by obligations regarding privacy that are consistent with this policy;
- in the event of a merger by or growth of Kate Dewhirst (in which case the third party will be bound by obligations regarding privacy that are consistent with this policy);
- if we engage expert witnesses on your behalf; or
- if we retain another law firm (such as, for example, law firms in other jurisdictions) on your behalf.
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. We may also periodically inquire of you whether your personal information is accurate and up-to-date.
Securing Personal Information
Kate Dewhirst takes precautions to ensure that your personal information is kept safe from loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. Among the steps taken to protect your personal information are:
- premises security;
- confidentiality policies as part of our professional obligations;
- training for our staff;
- deploying technological safeguards like security software and firewalls to prvent unauthorized computer access or “hacking”; and
- internal password and security policies.
You should be aware that e-mail is not an entirely secure medium, and you should be aware of this when contacting us to send personal or confidential information.
Accessing Personal Information
You may ask for access to personal information we hold about you. Detailed requests that require archive or other retrieval costs may be subject to our normal professional and disbursement fees. Your rights to access your personal information are not absolute. There are a number of situations where we may deny access. If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct personal information, we will provide a reason or reasons for doing so.
To help us make credit decisions about clients, to try to prevent fraud, and to check the identity of new clients, on occasion we may request information about you from the files of consumer reporting agencies.
We may provide aggregated information to third parties, but these statistics do not include any identifiable personal information.
Additionally, web servers used by Kate Dewhirst will automatically collect IP address and browser information from visitors. We may use our web server logs from time to time to improve service, and to prevent fraudulent acts and possible network attacks.
Where our websites contain links to other websites not controlled by us, those websites are not governed by this policy.
Requests for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please contact the lawyer with whom you normally deal or write to our Privacy Contact at:
Kate Dewhirst Health Law
901 King St. West, Suite 400,
Toronto M5V 3H5
Telephone (416) 855 9557
If you are not satisfied with our response, you may contact the Privacy Commissioner of Canada at:
112 Kent Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 1H3