Our obligations as legal professionals are governed, in part, by the Rules of Professional Conduct that govern all members of the Law Society of Upper Canada. These Rules require us, in part, to hold in strict confidence all information concerning the business and affairs of our clients acquired in the course of the professional relationship and we are not permitted to divulge any such information unless we have received express or implied consent from the client or are required by law to do so. These obligations apply not only to lawyers but to all professionals, employees, contractors and agents who provide services related to the delivery of our legal and other services.
What is Personal Information?
“Personal Information” means any information about an identified individual, or an individual whose identity may be inferred or determined from the information. It includes, for example, names, home addresses, phone numbers, financial information, medical information and employment information.
The Collection, Use & Disclosure of Personal Information
All Personal Information that is collected either to determine whether KM will enter into a professional relationship with a person or organization, or in the course of a professional relationship, is held in strict confidence and not revealed to any third parties unless expressly or implicitly authorized by the person or organization concerned. A professional relationship develops when KM agrees to be retained to provide services to a particular individual or organization.
Either before or when we collect Personal Information about you, we will explain how we intend to use it. We will limit the information we collect to what we need for those purposes and will only use it for those purposes. We will obtain your consent before using your information for any other purpose and before collecting information about you from third parties. We endeavour, wherever possible, to collect Personal Information directly from the individual concerned, rather than relying on third parties.
In order to protect their own interests, individuals or organizations should not send confidential information to KM until they have had a direct discussion with a professional at the firm about retaining KM to provide legal services.
Koskie Minsky only collects information from individuals or organizations that is required to provide services or information to them. We collect e-mail and mailing addresses when individuals subscribe to a publication offered by the KM. We use information collected through such subscriptions to send subscribers the publication they have requested, and to provide information that may be of possible interest.
KM does not sell, trade, barter or exchange for consideration any Personal Information it has obtained.
KM may disclose Personal Information to organizations that perform services on behalf of our firm. Personal Information will only be provided to such organizations if they agree to use such information solely for the purposes of providing services to KM and under the instruction of KM. Further, they must agree to act in a manner consistent with the relevant principles articulated in this Policy.
Please note that there are circumstances where the use and/or disclosure of Personal Information may be justified or permitted or where our firm is obliged to disclose information without consent. Such circumstances include:
Where KM is required by law or by order or requirement of a court, administrative agency or other governmental tribunal to disclose certain information;
Where KM believes, upon reasonable grounds, that disclosure is necessary to protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of an identifiable person or group;
Where disclosure is necessary to establish or collect money owing to KM;
Where disclosure is necessary to permit KM to pursue available remedies or limit any damages that KM may sustain; or
Where the information is public.
Where obliged or permitted to disclose information without consent, KM will not disclose more information than is required.
Accuracy and Access
We will give you access to the information we retain about you. KM will also make every reasonable effort to keep your Personal Information accurate, current and as complete as necessary for the purposes for which we have collected the information. We expect our clients to participate in keeping their Personal Information as up-to-date and accurate as possible.
KM keeps Personal Information only as long as it is required for the reasons it was collected. The length of time we retain information varies, depending on the product or service and the nature of the information. This period may extend beyond the end of a person's relationship with us but only as long as necessary for us to have sufficient information to respond to any issues that may arise at a later date. At all times, KM protects your privacy by making every reasonable effort to keep your personal information in secure locations.
Currently, KM holds Personal Information at our office and at one off-site storage facility.
KM endeavours to maintain adequate physical, procedural and technical security with respect to its office and information storage facility so as to prevent any loss, misuse, unauthorized access, disclosure, or modification of Personal Information. It is sometimes necessary to transport Personal Information to other locations such as Courts, Tribunals or meetings. Our lawyers and staff are careful to keep your Personal Information secure if and when it must leave our office or storage facility.
In terms of communicating Personal Information to KM, you should note there is no method of transmitting or storing data that is completely secure. Mail, telephone calls, faxes and transmissions over the Internet are all susceptible to possible loss, misrouting, interception and misuse of the information being communicated or transmitted. When faxing information to KM, you should be aware that as well as our general fax number, each lawyer has a direct fax line that you should use to ensure greater protection for Personal Information being sent to the firm.
KM attempts to strike a reasonable balance between security and convenience. In communicating with clients and others, KM often requests the right to use a method of communication that is less secure than some of its less convenient alternatives. An example of this is e-mail.
Our suppliers, agents and service providers, as part of their contracts with KM, are bound to maintain your confidentiality and may not use the information for any unauthorized purpose.
The only Personal Information KM collects on its website is the information voluntarily supplied by you if you contact us through our website. This information typically is restricted to your name and e-mail address. We do not employ any electronic means to automatically collect personally identifiable information from any visitor or user of our website or from their computers. We may use your Personal Information collected through our website to respond to your inquiries, contact you or provide you with e-mails or brochures that we believe will interest you or as otherwise permitted or required by law.
We will respond to written requests from individuals who seek to access their personal information or who wish to challenge the accuracy and completeness of their information and to have it amended. We will also respond to written complaints regarding KM's information and privacy practices.