Since January 1, 2004, all business collecting, using or disclosing personal information in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”). These obligations extend to lawyers and law firms, including Sullivan Mahoney. As lawyers offering legal services, we have a professional and ethical obligation to keep confidential the information we receive within a lawyer-client relationship. To ensure this accountability, we have developed this policy, and trained our lawyers and support staff about our policies and procedures.
What Personal Information Do We Collect?
Personal information is defined broadly by PIPEDA as any information that identifies you, or by which you could be identified. However, personal information does not include business/contact information – name, title, business address or telephone and facsimile numbers – that one generally finds on a business card.
Sullivan Mahoney provides legal services and products to a wide range of clients. In doing so, we periodically produce marketing and advertising materials concerning our services and developments in the law. The types of personal information that Sullivan Mahoney may collect about you includes your name, home and billing address, telephone number, email coordinates, legal issues and information relating to providing legal advice and services to you. If Sullivan Mahoney did not collect and use your personal information, we could not provide you with legal services.
How Do We Collect Your Personal Information?
Sullivan Mahoney collects personal information only by lawful means and not in any intrusive manner. Generally, we collect your personal information directly from you at the start of your retainer or in the course of our representation. We may also obtain personal information about you from other sources including:
- other individuals within your company or organization that we represent;
- your insurance company or financial institution;
- your real estate agent in a property transaction;
- public data records, a government agency or registry;
- your employer; if we are acting for you at the employer’s request; or
- your accountant or other professional advisor(s).
Consent to Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information
Use of Personal Information
Sullivan Mahoney uses your personal information in order to provide professional legal services to you, to issue invoices or accounts, to maintain our client database and to include you in communications about recent legal developments or news and to invite you to our firm’s events.
Disclosure of Your Personal Information
Sullivan Mahoney does not disclose your personal information without your consent, under certain circumstances including:
- when we are required or authorized by law to do so, for example, if a court issues a subpoena/notice to witness;
- where it is necessary to establish or collect fees;
- if we engage expert witnesses on your behalf;
- if we retain other law firms at your request, and on your behalf; and
- if the information is already on the public record.
Accuracy of Your Personal Information
Since we use your personal information to provide legal services to you, it is important that the personal information be accurate and up-to-date. If any of your personal information should change during the course of the retainer, please inform us so that we can make the necessary changes. From time to time we may also seek to verify the accuracy of your personal information.
Safeguards to Keep Your Personal Information Secure
Sullivan Mahoney takes all reasonable precautions to ensure that your personal information is kept safe and protected against loss, theft, misuse, disclosure, unauthorized access or disclosure. Steps taken to protect your personal information include; security of our office premises; restricted file access to personal information; security software and firewalls to prevent unauthorized computer access or “hacking”; and internal passwords or security protocols that restrict access to our electronic files.
Access to Your Personal Information
You have a right to challenge the accuracy and completeness of, as well as to request access to, your personal information. If the requested information would disclose personal information about another individual then your access may be limited or denied. To request access or to amend your personal information, please contact the lawyer with whom you normally correspond or write to our Privacy Officer at the address below. Sullivan Mahoney will respond within 30 days of receipt of your written request.
SARA J. PREMI
Sullivan Mahoney LLP
40 Queen Street, Box 1360
St. Catharines, ON L2R 6Z2