Effective January 1, 2004, all businesses engaged in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents 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 DSF. The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
In addition, our obligations as legal professionals are governed, in part, by the Rules of Professional Conduct that govern each of our professionals as members of the Law Society of Upper Canada. These obligations apply to all professionals, employees, contractors and agents who provide services in connection with our delivery of legal services to our clients.
DSF 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.
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.
We collect information only by lawful and fair means and not in an unreasonably intrusive way. Typically, and wherever possible, we collect your personal information directly from you, at the start of a retainer and in the course of our representation.
In some cases, we shall ask you to specifically consent, either in writing or orally, if we collect, use, or disclose your personal information. In many cases, however, your consent will be implied through your conduct with us.
We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to administer our client (time and billing) databases and to include you in any direct marketing activities. 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.
DSF 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 organizations.
Under certain circumstances, DSF may need to disclose your personal information. Such circumstances may include:
- 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; or
- if the information is already publicly known.
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.
DSF 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;
- technological safeguards such as security software and firewalls to prevent unauthorized computer access;
- internal password and security policies.
You may ask for access to any personal information we hold about you.
Summary information is available on request. Requests for more detailed inforamtioned which require archive or other retrieval costs may be subject to our normal professional and disbursement fees.
If DSF holds information about you and you can establish that it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, DSF will take reasonable steps to correct it.
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; or
- 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.
DSF does not use your Social Insurance Number as a way of identifying or organizing the information we hold about you.
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 disclose information to 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 on occasion, request information about you from the files of consumer reporting agencies.
You should be aware that e-mail is not a completely secure medium, and you should be aware of this when contacting us to send personal or confidential information.
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please write to our Privacy Contact at:
Devry Smith Frank LLP
95 Barber Greene Road
Toronto, Ontario M3C 3E9
Attention: Lawrence Hansen
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at:
112 Kent Street,
If you apply to DSF 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.
On our website, like most other commercial websites, we may monitor traffic patterns, site usage and related site information in order to optimise our web service. We may provide aggregated information to third parties, but these statistics do not include any identifiable personal information.