From January 1, 2004, all organizations engaged in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) unless the federal cabinet has exempted the organization because it is subject to “substantially similar” provincial legislation. To date, lawyers and law firms in Ontario are not subject to any such exemption orders. Therefore, these obligations extend to lawyers and law firms such as Elia Associates. 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.
Elia Associates is responsible for the personal information it collects, uses, maintains and discloses. To ensure this accountability, the firms has developed this policy, and trained its lawyers and support staff about its policies and practices.
What is “Personal Information?”
Personal information is any information that identifies you, or by which your identity could be deduced. It does not include the name or business address or telephone number of an employee of an organization.
Types of Information Elia Associates Collects
Elia Associates, including employees and agents may collect, use and disclose certain personal information about a client, its representatives and or agents (a “client”) only when that type of information is provided by a client or is obtained by us with your implied, oral or written authorization to do so. Elia Associates collects, uses and discloses personal information to provide clients with legal services at the client’s instruction or request; to bill a client; to provide a client with updates in the law it believes will be of assistance to clients and to advise of upcoming firm events.
Examples of sources from which personal information may be collected, used and disclosed include:
- Interviews and phone calls with a client;
- Letters or emails from or to a client;
- Client records
- Discussions with a client’s professional advisers such as lawyers and financial planners
Sometimes information may be obtained about you from other sources, for example:
- your insurance company;
- your real estate agent in a property transaction;
- a government agency or registry;
- your employer, if we are acting for you at your employer’s request;
- your accountant; and
- other consultants obtained by you to assist with your legal concerns
Parties to Whom the Firm Discloses Information
Under certain circumstances, however, your personal information may be disclosed:
- to comply with a validly issued and enforceable subpoena, summons or similar judicial proceeding;
- when you have consented to the disclosure;
- when the legal services the firm is providing to you require us to give your information to a third party (for example, to 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;
- in the course of a review of the firm’s practices under the authorization of a provincial or federal self-governing and/or licensing board and/or professional insurers, or as necessary to properly respond to an inquiry or complaint from such a board or organization;
- if the firm engages expert witnesses on your behalf;
- if the firm retains other law firms in other jurisdictions, on your behalf; or
- if the information is already publicly known;
- In the event of a prospective purchase, sale, or merger of the firm, provided that the firm, including its representatives and agents, take appropriate precautions (for example, through a written confidentiality agreement) so the prospective purchaser or merger partner does not disclose information obtained in the course of the review;
- As a part of any actual or threatened legal or alternative dispute resolution proceedings including those initiated by or against myself, provided the firm discloses only the information necessary to file, pursue, or defend against the lawsuit and take reasonable precautions to ensure that the information disclosed does not become a matter of public record to the extent possible;
- To provide information to affiliates of the firm and nonaffiliated third parties who perform services or functions for us in conjunction with our services to a client, but only if I have a contractual agreement with the other party that prohibits them from collecting, disclosing or using the information other than for the purposes for which it was disclosed. (Examples of such disclosures include engaging a records-retention agency to store prior year records.)
Use of Personal Information
Personal information collected under this Policy is used to perform services within the scope of the firm’s engagement. The firm may also use it to provide a client through various channels with information that it believe will be of interest to you. This includes such manners as:
- New services the firm provide
- Notice of changes in the law that may be of interest to you;
- Newsletters; and
- Other professional or business developments.
If you do not wish to receive such information, you may opt out by sending an email to email@example.com, or by advising Richard Elia, the individual responsible for privacy at Elia Associates, and the firm will discontinue sending you information other than in regard to legal services being provided and account matters.
Collection of Personal Information
The firm collects information, including personal information for the primary purpose of providing a client with legal services. The firm also collects information to fulfill the purposes outlined in the disclosure and use sections noted above.
Confidentiality and Security of Personal Information
Except as otherwise described in this notice, the firm restricts access to non-public personal information about you to employees of the firm and other parties who must use that information to provide services to you. Their right to further disclose and use the information is limited by the policies of the firm, applicable law, the Code of Professional Conduct, and nondisclosure agreements where appropriate. Elia Associates also maintains physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards in compliance with applicable laws and regulations to guard personal information from unauthorized access, alteration, or premature destruction and retains personal information for a minimum of seven years.
If the firm holds information about you and if you can establish that it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, the firm will take reasonable steps to correct it.
Can I be Denied Access to My Personal Information?
Your rights to access your personal information are not absolute. Access may be denied when:
- denial of access is required or authorized by law 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.
If Elia Associates deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, our Privacy Officer shall explain why.
Updating Your Information
Since the firm uses 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.
Request for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please write to Elia Associates Privacy Officer, Richard Elia.
Inquiries / Complaints
If you have any questions or concerns about how your personal information has, is or will be handled by Elia Associates or if you would like to register a complaint, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The material found on this website is intended for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not act or fail to act in any matter based on any of the material contained herein without first consulting with a lawyer. The reading, sending or receiving of information from or via the website does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Elia Associates works to ensure accuracy in the materials posted here but we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any of the information posted to this website and we do not necessarily endorse information found on any website which is linked to or from this website. Elia Associates cannot guarantee the confidentiality of any e-mail transmission from or via the website.