Your Privacy Rights
From January 1, 2004, all organizations engaged in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Privacy and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), unless the Federal Cabinet exempts the organization because of substantially similar provincial legislation. To date, lawyers and law firms in Ontario are not subject to any such exemptions. Although, as lawyers, we have always been obligated by the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Rules of Professional Conduct to maintain the confidentiality of client information, PIPEDA gives you additional rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
Consent for the collection, use and/or disclosure of personal information may be obtained orally or in writing, and may be given or implied. In determining how we obtain your consent, we will take into account the sensitivity of the personal information about you that we are collecting, using or disclosing.
What is Personal Information?
Personal information is information about an identifiable individual or information that allows an individual to be identified. It does not include name, business address or telephone number of an employee of an organization.
Why Do We Collect Personal Information From You?
We collect personal information from our clients to:
- Provide legal services to you in accordance with your instructions;
- Fulfill legal duties;
- Avoid conflicts of interest;
- In the course of providing legal services, share personal information to and from third parties, including opposing parties, parties sharing the same interests, opposing, foreign and other counsel and advisors, witnesses, decision makers and experts;
- Provide information to you about developments in the law;
- Advise you of upcoming firm events;
- Develop and manage our knowledge-management precedent systems and databases;
- Detect and protect RSJLAW and other third parties against error, negligence, breach of contract, fraud, theft, and other illegal activity, and to comply with RSJLAW policies and contractual obligations; and
- Any other purpose to which you consent.
How Do We Collect Your Personal Information?
We may collect personal information directly from you at the start of a retainer and/or in the course of our representation of you. Sometimes, we may also obtain information about you from other sources, for example:
- Your insurance company;
- Your real estate agent in a property transaction;
- Government agency or registry;
- Your accountant;
- Your employer;
- Other lawyers that you have retained and have provided with your consent to disclosure personal information;
- Your doctor or other medical practitioner with your consent;
- Other consultants obtained by you to assist with your concerns.
Use of Your Information
When we use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, including for billing purposes and any direct marketing activities by RSJLAW, we will assume that you have consented to use, unless you specifically advise otherwise. If you tell us you no longer wish to receive information about our services or about new developments in the law, we will not send any further material.
RSJLAW does not disclose your personal information to any third party to enable them to market their products without first obtaining express consent from you.
Disclosure of Your Personal Information
From time to time, under certain circumstances, RSJLAW may disclose your personal information. For example, we may disclose your personal information:
- When we are required or authorized by law to do so (e.g., if a court issues a subpoena);
- When you have consented to the disclosure;
- When the legal services we are providing to you require us to give your information to a third party (for example, an expert retained to assist in your defence of your charges). In such a case, 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 paralegals on your behalf, or a person who, in the reasonable judgment of RSJLAW, is providing or seeking the information as your agent;
- Any third party or parties where you consent to such disclosures, or where disclosure is required or permitted by law.
Updating Your Information
It is important that the information that you provide us be accurate and up to date. If, during the course of the retainer, any of your information changes, please let us know so that we can adjust our records.
Security and Protection of Your Personal Information:
RSJLAW has implemented reasonable physical, organizational and technological security measures to safeguard the personal information in our custody or control. These include safeguards to protect personal information against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use, or modification. Authorized Members of RSJLAW, agents and mandatories have access to your personal information.
You can generally visit the RSJLAW Web site without providing any personal information. However, given that electronically submitted data is not 100% secure, we make no warranties as to the security of any such personal information that you submit, which you do at your own risk.
Privacy and Our Website
Like most other commercial websites, we may monitor traffic patterns, site usage and related site information on our website in order to optimize our web service. We may provide aggregated information to third parties, but these statistics do not include identifiable personal information.
Communicating With Us
You should be aware that email is not a 100 percent secure medium, and you should be aware of this when contacting us to send personal or confidential information.
Changes to the Policy
RSJLAW reserves the right to modify or supplement this policy at any time. If we make any changes, we will post the changes on our website and will make the revised policy and changes available upon request to the RSJLAW Privacy Officer.
Requests for Access
We maintain a file of your personal information for the above-mentioned purposes. This file is accessible through the lawyer representing you in your case. If you wish to request access to, or correction of, your personal information in custody or control of RSJLAW, please make your request in writing to the lawyer responsible for your case at the address below. We may need to verify your identity before searching for or providing you with personal information. In some circumstances, we may not provide access to your personal information, for example if it contains the personal information of other persons, if it constitutes confidential commercial information, if it is protected by solicitor-client privilege, or if it is otherwise not properly the subject of an access request.
Since we predominantly use personal information to provide legal services, it is important that the information be accurate and up-to-date. Please inform us as soon as possible of any changes to your personal information.
If you have any questions, requests or complaints about our personal information practices, the lawyer responsible for your case by calling our main line at 416-591-9100, or via e-mail or via direct mail at the addresses below.
Acting Privacy Officer
Rotenberg Shidlowski Jesin
144 King Street East, Third Floor
Toronto Ontario M5C 1G8