This Policy is Effective as of January 1, 2016.
All businesses located in Canada which are of a commercial nature must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”). These obligations extend to lawyers and law firms. In short, PIPEDA regulates the manner in which businesses gather, use, store and disclose personal and private information about individuals and clients. These regulations exist over and above a law firm's and lawyer's professional obligations with regard to confidential client information and matters of solicitor and client privilege.
This policy has been put in place by SKS Law in order to comply with PIPEDA's requirements, and SKS Law's lawyers and staff are aware of this policy and are bound by it.
How and Why We Collect Personal InformationSKS Law must collect personal information from our clients to fully understand and address their legal issues and to provide them with legal services. Normally, personal information is collected during the initial client contact and on an ongoing basis as we work with our clients. In most cases, the personal information is collected directly from our clients. However, at times, we may obtain personal information about our clients from other sources, with our clients' permission: for example, from insurance companies, a real estate agent in a property transaction, a government agency or registry, and financial, accounting or other advisors that work with our clients.
Use of Your Personal InformationWe limit our collection of personal information to what is required to provide legal services to you and for billing purposes. We do not sell, trade or exchange any personal information that we receive from our clients with third parties for any reason.
Disclosure of Your Personal InformationAny personal information we receive is held in strict confidence. However, we may need to disclose personal information to provide you with the legal services you have requested, or if we are required to do so by law. Circumstances that may require disclosure include:
- when we are required or authorized by law to do so, for example, pursuant to a Court Order or Search Warrant;
- when you have provided us with your consent to do so;
- 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). In such cases, given the nature of such transactions, your consent will be implied, unless you tell us otherwise;
- where it is necessary to establish or collect our 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.
Updating Information and Correcting ErrorsSince we use our clients' contact and other personal information to provide legal services to them, it is important that the information be accurate and up-to-date. While a file is active, it is your responsibility to inform us of any changes in your personal information so that we can update our files and records. When a client advises us that the personal information we hold is not accurate, complete or up-to-date, SKS Law will take all reasonable steps to correct it.
Safety of Personal InformationWe endeavour to take all reasonable precautions to ensure that your personal information is kept safe from loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. Further we will retain your personal information only so long as is necessary in the circumstances. Safeguards in place to protect your personal information include those that are commonly in place at law firms in Canada, such as premises security, restricted file access, proper document destruction procedures, technological safeguards like security software, firewalls, and password protected access to electronic documents.
Credit Card and Banking InformationIn order to serve you better, SKS Law accepts payment by credit card and direct bank deposit. In such circumstances, you will need to provide us with personal information (such as credit card and bank account numbers) sufficient for us to process any such transactions. Once payment has been processed, SKS Law does not keep that personal financial information: it is destroyed in accordance with this policy.
Access to Your Personal InformationYou may ask us for access to your personal information that we hold during normal business hours. Please note that detailed requests that require archive or other retrieval costs may be subject to our normal professional and disbursement fees, such as photocopying fees.
Denial of Access to Your Personal InformationWe may, in limited circumstances, deny you access to your personal information if:
- denial of access is required or authorized by law (for example, when a record containing personal information about the requester is subject to a claim of legal professional privilege by one of our other clients);
- information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings against a client;
- granting access to a client would have an unreasonable impact on other people's privacy;
- to do so would prejudice negotiations with a client;
- protecting SKS Law's rights and property; or
- the request is frivolous or vexatious.