Cass Litman, Barrister Solicitor & Notary (““Litman Law”) recognizes the importance of privacy and the sensitivity of personal information. As a lawyer I have a professional obligation to keep confidential all information I receive within a lawyer-client relationship. To ensure accountability, I have developed this policy, and trained my professionals about my policies and practices. This document explains how we at Litman Law use and disclose that information, the choices you have regarding such use and disclosure, and how you may correct and have access to that information.
1. WHY DOES LITMAN LAW NEED PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Litman Law provides legal services and products to a wide range of clients. In doing so, we also produce direct marketing materials concerning its services and developments in the law.
2. WHAT PERSONAL INFORMATION DO WE COLLECT?
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. According to the Commissioner’s Guidelines, the definition encompasses such information as name, age, weight, height, medical records, income, purchases, spending habits, race, ethnic origin, colour, blood type, DNA code, fingerprints, marital status, religion, education, home address and telephone number.
3. 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.
4. WHEN AND HOW DO WE OBTAIN CONSENT?
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.
In certain circumstances, as permitted or required by law, we may collect, use or disclose personal information without your knowledge or consent. These circumstances include (where applicable): personal information which is subject to solicitor-client privilege; information on individuals which is publicly available where collection or use is clearly in the interests of the individual and consent cannot be obtained in a timely way; to investigate a breach of any agreement or contravention of a law; to comply with a subpoena, warrant, court order or as required or otherwise permitted by law.
When your consent is required, you can withdraw consent at any time (unless withdrawing the consent would frustrate the performance of legal obligations), and upon providing us with a 30-days notice. However, the withdrawal of your consent may impact on our ability to serve you and to maintain our relationship.
5. HOW DO WE MAKE USE OF YOUR INFORMATION?
Litman Law only collects the personal information necessary to fulfil the purposes identified to you prior to or at the time of collection, or any other reasonable and legitimate purposes or as required by law.
Litman Law does not, as a condition of supplying a service to you, require consent to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information beyond that reasonably required for such purposes, or to comply with its obligations under applicable law. Litman Law usually collects and uses your personal information for the following purposes:
- collecting, recording and using the information relevant to the performance of the services rendered to and for you;
- recording and determining your various services in your relationship with us;
- administration, billing, accounting and collection in relation to your business and relationship with us;
- protecting against fraud and error;
- providing direct marketing materials to you regarding our services;
- communicating with you generally or to ensure your satisfaction; and
- communicating the information to a sub-contractor (or other agents or intermediaries) in the course of a contract or mandate for the performance of any of the purposes listed above.
6. HOW DO WE DISCLOSE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Under certain circumstances, Litman 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.
7. HOW LONG WILL WE UTILIZE, DISCLOSE OR RETAIN YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?
We may keep a record of your personal information, including correspondence or comments, in the applicable file specific to you. We will utilize, disclose or retain your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes for which it was collected and as required or otherwise permitted by law. We will establish minimum and maximum retention periods and procedures for maintaining and destroying your personal information.
8. WHY IS UPDATING YOUR INFORMATION IMPORTANT?
Since we use your personal information to provide legal services to you, it is important that the information be accurate and up-to-date. We will not routinely update your personal information, unless such a process is necessary. If during the course of the retainer, any of your information changes, please inform us so that we can make any necessary changes.
9. HOW DO WE CORRECT ERRORS?
If Litman Law holds information about you and you can establish that it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, Litman Law will take reasonable steps to correct it.
10. IS MY PERSONAL INFORMATION SECURE?
Litman 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;
- from a government agency or registry;
- deploying technological safeguards like security software and firewalls to prevent hacking or unauthorized computer access;
- internal password and security policies.
11. HOW FAST WILL WE RESPOND TO YOUR WRITTEN REQUEST?
We will make every reasonable effort to respond to each of your written requests not later than thirty (30) days after receipt of such requests. When applicable, we will advise you in writing if we cannot meet your requests within this time limit. When applicable, you have the right to make a complaint to the appropriate Privacy Authority in respect of this time limit.
12. HOW DO YOU ACCESS YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Subject to the exceptions provided by the applicable law, we will make available to you any specific personal information about you that we have collected, utilized or disclosed, upon your written request.
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.
13. 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.
14. CREDIT BUREAUS
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.
15. 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.
17. REQUESTS FOR ACCESS
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please write to our Privacy Contact at:
Cass I. Litman
Cass Litman, Barrister, Solicitor & Notary
3075 14th Avenue, Suite 216
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at:
112 Kent Street