Your Privacy Rights
As lawyers, we have a professional obligation to keep confidential all information we receive within the lawyer-client relationship. Our obligations are governed, in part, by the Legal Professional Act and the Nova Scotia Barristers Society’s Code of Professional Conduct. In addition, we are governed by federal legislation.
On January 1, 2004, most Canadian businesses were required to comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. These obligations extend to lawyers and law firms, including BOYNECLARKE LLP. That Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information. BOYNECLARKE LLP is responsible for the personal information we collect and use. To ensure this accountability, we have developed this policy, and trained our lawyers and staff about our policies and practices.
As a general rule, all information which we acquire for determining whether we will enter a lawyer/client relationship or in the course of a lawyer/client relationship will be held in strict confidence and not revealed to anyone unless we are authorized to do so. A lawyer/client relationship develops when we agree to be retained to provide service.
Notwithstanding this general rule, there are circumstances where disclosure may be justified or permitted or where we are obliged to disclose information without consent. For example, we may be required to disclose information in accordance with a court order or in connection with a criminal investigation. (See Disclosure of Personal Information, below.)
Why does BOYNECLARKE LLP need information?
BOYNECLARKE LLP provides legal services and products to a wide range of clients. In order to do this, we need to have certain relevant information relating to our retainer and to our representation of our clients. This information frequently includes personal information about our clients and other individuals. We also need this information to provide individuals and businesses with materials concerning our services and developments in the law.
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 personal information we could not provide legal services to our clients.
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 during our representation.
Sometimes we may obtain information about you from other sources. The information we collect and the sources we use vary, depending upon the nature of our representation. The sources may include one or more of the following:
- your insurance company;
- your real estate agent in a property transaction;
- from government agencies or registries;
- your employer;
- consumer or other reporting agencies;
- your accountant;
- your health care providers.
Depending on the nature of the services we are providing to you, we may also find it necessary to disclose information we have collected to such parties.
Normally, we ask for consent to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information. Normally, we ask for explicit consent, though consent may be implied through the individual’s conduct.
Use of Your Information
We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to our clients, and to provide updates about the law to interested parties. 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.
We do not disclose personal information to any third parties to enable them to market their products and services. For example, we do not provide our client mailing lists to other law firms.
Disclosure of your Personal Information
Under certain circumstances, we will disclose your personal information:
- when you have consented to the disclosure;
- when we are required or authorized by law to do so, (e.g. if a court issues a subpoena);
- when the legal services we are providing requires us give your information to third parties (e.g. a lender in a real estate mortgage transaction);
- 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.
Updating Your Information
Since we use personal information to provide legal services to our clients, 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.
Is my personal information secure?
BOYNECLARKE LLP 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;
- use of technological safeguards like security software and firewalls to prevent hacking or unauthorized computer access;
- internal password and security policies.
Access to Your Personal Information
You may ask for access to any personal information we hold about you. 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.
If we hold information about you and you can establish that it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, we 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. 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;
- necessary to protect our firm’s rights and property;
- 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.
Can I request anonymity?
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 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.
Communicating With Us
You should be aware that e-mail is not a completely secure medium. Please bear this in mind when you send personal or confidential information via e-mail.
Requests for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please write to our Privacy Contact at:
600-99 Wyse Road
Attention: Diane C. Norris
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at:
112 Kent Street
Ottawa Ontario, K1A 1H3
If you apply to BOYNECLARKE LLP 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.