DD West LLP/Western Canadian Municipal Lawyers understands the importance of your personal privacy. We have an ethical and professional obligation to keep confidential all information we receive from our clients. The following policy outlines how we manage your personal information and safeguard your privacy. It has been prepared to inform you of our practices concerning the collection, use, and disclosure of information provided to our firm.
As of January 1, 2004, all law firms must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (the "Act") and the Canadian Standards Association Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information which it incorporates. The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
To ensure that your rights to privacy are protected, DD West LLP /Western Canadian Municipal Lawyers has developed this policy and trained our lawyers and support staff about our policies and practices.
Purposes for Collecting Personal Information
DD West LLP/Western Canadian Municipal Lawyers provide legal services and products to a wide range of clients. We collect information about each client's legal issue including anything the client might have done or said that might affect their legal situation. Then we can advise the client as to their legal rights and responsibilities, their options for addressing the issue, and carry out their instructions.
We may also collect information to establish mailing lists and inform our clients of changing political, social, and legal issues.
We do not collect information in an unreasonably intrusive way. Wherever possible, we collect your personal information directly from you at the start of a retainer, and in the course of our representation. In order to protect their own interests, individuals or organizations should not send confidential information to DD West LLP/Western Canadian Municipal Lawyers until they have had a direct discussion with a professional at the firm regarding the retention of the firm to provide legal services.
Occasionally, we may obtain information about you from other sources. For example:
(i) your insurance company
(ii) your real estate agent in a property transaction
(iii) a government agency or registry
(iv) your employer, if we are acting for you, at its request
(v) your accountant.
In most cases, we shall ask you to specifically consent, if we collect, use, or disclose your personal information. Normally, we ask for your consent in writing; but in some circumstances, we may accept your oral consent. Sometimes, your consent may be implied through your conduct with us.
Use of Your Information
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.
In addition, from time to time, our firm may contact you requesting additional personal information to assist us in maintaining our contact or mailing lists, or to assist us in representing you.
Disclosure of YOUR Personal Information
Under certain circumstances, DD West LLP/Western Canadian Municipal Lawyers will disclose your personal information:
(i) when we are required or authorized by law to do so.For example, if a court issues a subpoena
(ii) when you have consented to the disclosure
(iii) when the legal services we are providing to you requires us to give your information to third parties (such as a process server or a lender in a real estate mortgage transaction), your consent will be implied, unless you tell us otherwise
(iv) 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 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.
Security of Personal Information
DD West LLP/Western Canadian Municipal Lawyers 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
- deploying technological safeguards such as, 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 DD West LLP/Western Canadian Municipal Lawyers holds information about you and you can establish that it is not accurate, complete, and up-to-date, DD West LLP/Western Canadian Municipal Lawyers will take reasonable steps to correct it.
Access to Personal Information can be denied under some circumstances
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
- granting you access would have an unreasonable impact on other people's privacy
- to do so would prejudice negotiations with you
- it is necessary to protect our firm's rights and property
- 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. DD West LLP/Western Canadian Municipal Lawyers does not use your Social Insurance Number as a way of identifying or organizing the information we hold upon 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).
Requests for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please write to our Privacy Contact at 300 – 305 Broadway, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 3J7
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at 30, Victoria Street, Gatineau, Quebec K1A 1H3, 1-800-282-1376.