In the course of doing business, Catalyst Law (“CL”) collects personal information for various reasons. CL recognizes the importance of an individual’s privacy and appreciates the sensitivity of an individual’s personal information. As lawyers, we have a professional obligation to keep confidential all information we receive within a lawyer-client relationship. Moreover, from January 1, 2004, all businesses engaged in commercial activities in Canada must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) and the Canadian Standards Association Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information, which it incorporates. These obligations extend to lawyers and law firms. We are committed to protecting any personal information we hold and to complying with PIPEDA and the Privacy Act.
What is Personal Information?
“Personal information” means any information about an identifiable individual, but does not include the name, title, business address or telephone number of an employee of an organization. Essentially, personal information is any information that identifies you, or by which your identity could be deduced, including such information as your address, age, name, gender, ID numbers, income and ethnic origin.
From time to time, CL will need to collect personal information to provide our legal services. In addition to collecting personal information directly from an individual, we may collect information about an individual from a variety of other parties in the course of providing legal services, including financial advisors, accountants, other legal advisors, consultants, government agencies or registries, parties involved in a transaction, employers, insurance companies and medical professionals.
How Does CL Collect Personal Information?
CL collects information only by lawful and fair means and not in an unreasonably intrusive way. Whenever possible we collect your personal information directly from you at the start of a retainer and in the course of our representation. We may obtain information about you from sources such as the following:
- Stock exchange personal information forms
- Retainer agreements
- Direct written communication by mail, fax or email
- Searches of public records
- Verbal communication at interviews and client meetings
- Directors’ and Officers’ Questionnaires
- Information from existing or proposed agreements, contracts, records and files.
What Types of Personal Information Does CL Collect?
In the course of providing legal services, CL may collect various personal information about you, including the following:
- Telephone/Fax numbers
- Postal/Email addresses
- Social insurance number
- Driver’s licence number
- Passport number and issuing country
- Income and other compensation
- Age, date and place of birth
- Citizenship and residency
- Marital status
- Name, address and occupation of spouse
- Intentions (change of employment, claims, proceedings, business plans)
- Employment history
- Education history
- Residential history
- Credit records
- Financial records
- Medical records
- Criminal records
- Proceedings/claims, judgments, injunctions
- Securities holdings
- Affiliations with organizations (e.g. directorships)
- Names of immediate family members, or trust/estate beneficiaries
- Personal assets
Why Does CL Collect Personal Information?
CL uses your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to administer our legal practice (such as time and billing databases) and to include you in direct marketing activities. In providing our legal services, we will collect your personal information for a variety of reasons, such as the following:
|· To submit to regulatory agencies to conduct background and security checks|
|· To comply with regulatory agency disclosure requirements (e.g. SEDI)|
|· To conduct searches, e.g. PPSA, bankruptcy|
|· To verify our records|
|· To consider suitability/eligibility to act as an officer, director, employee or consultant of an entity involved in a transaction for which we provide legal services|
|· To establish and manage client relationships|
|· To provide legal advice, perform legal services and fulfill legal duties|
|· To establish and maintain commercial relationships with clients|
|· To collect and process payments|
|· Potential litigation|
|· Marketing purposes, e.g. mailings for social events and to distribute newsletters|
|· To use in working group lists|
|· Employee applications|
|· Record keeping, statistics and our financials|
|· To prevent fraud and money laundering|
If you do not wish to receive any mailings from CL, you may notify CL’s Privacy Officer and we will discontinue mailings to you. CL does not disclose your personal information to any third party to enable them to market their products and services.
Access and Updating Your Information
You may ask for access to any personal information we hold about you at any time. 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.
Disclosure of Personal Information
At times, CL has an obligation to disclose certain personal information as follows:
- when we are required or authorized by law to do so, for example if a court issues a subpoena;
- when you have consented to the disclosure;
- when the legal services we are providing to you requires us to give your information to third parties (for example a lender in a real estate mortgage transaction), in which case your consent will be implied, unless you tell us otherwise;
- where it is necessary to establish or collect fees;
- if we engage a third party to provide administrative services to us (like computer back-up services or archival file storage);
- if we retain other law firms in other jurisdictions, on your behalf;
- if the information is already publicly known.
When required to disclose personal information to third parties in order to fulfill service obligations to its clients, CL will ensure that such information will only be used for the purposes of completing the required task.
Personal information that is maintained by CL is physically stored in the following locations and is kept indefinitely:
|· Client files which are located in filing cabinets, desks, private offices, CL’s file room and offsite storage|
|· Transaction record books which are located in CL’s file room and offsite storage|
|· Computer system|
|· Diskettes and CD-ROM’s|
|· Firm laptops|
|· Fax and Photocopiers (limited memory)|
The personal information that CL maintains may be accessible to all members of CL. In addition, in certain circumstances, personal information may be accessible to the following providers of services to CL:
|· Storage companies|
|· Commercial printers and similar service providers|
|· Outside lawyers acting as agents|
|· Fax and Photocopier service people who can access memory|
All of the above are bound by their individual privacy policies so when CL enlists any of these services, your privacy continues to be safeguarded in accordance with their respective privacy policies.
If CL holds information about you and you can establish that it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, CL 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. CL may deny you access to your personal information when:
|· 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;|
|· to protect our firm’s rights and property; or|
|· where the request is frivolous or vexatious|
If we deny your request for access, or refuse a request to correct information, we shall explain why.
Safeguarding Your Personal Information
If you apply to CL 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.
If any personal information about another individual is provided to CL by you, it is understood that you have obtained all required consents and authorizations to do so.
We note that while we take the utmost care in protecting the privacy of our clients, we do not assume responsibility for any information that has been obtained by theft, via email or other illegal means. You should be aware that whenever you disclose personal information online, that information may be intercepted, collected and used by an outside party.
CL collects information through our website which you provide to us of your own accord when you submit forms or send us an email message using the links found on our website. We also collect personal information when you subscribe to our newsletter by using the newsletter subscription link on our website. This information includes, but may not be limited to, your full name and email address.
Inquiries and Requests for Access
99 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 204
Toronto, Ontario M6K 3J8
Attention: Privacy Officer