Your Privacy Rights
Why Do We Need Personal Information?
We collect information about you and your legal issues so that we can properly advise you and carry out your instructions to us. We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to administer your file (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 to you.
In the event that you retain us for new matters at a future time, we will use the relevant information collected from your previous file or files as necessary and as it relates to the new file unless you tell us that you do not wish us to do so. In addition, from time to time, our firm may contact you requesting additional personal information to assist us in representing you or for maintaining our mailing lists. We will not disclose your personal information to any third party to enable them to market their products and services and we will not provide our client mailing list to any third parties.
What Personal Information Do We Collect And How Do We Collect It?
Personal information is any information that identifies you or by which your identity could be deduced.
We collect information only by lawful and fair means. Wherever possible, we collect your personal information directly from you at the start of a retainer and in the course of our representation of you.
Sometimes we may obtain information about you from other sources, for example:
- Your insurance company;
- Your real estate agent in a property transaction;
- From a government agency or registry (eg. Land Titles Office, Personal Property Registry, etc.); or
- Your accountant.
This list is by no means exhaustive. It is detailed here only to provide you with a "sampling" of where we may go to collect information about you.
Access to and Correction Of Your Personal Information
You may ask for access to any personal information we hold about you. Summary information is available upon 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 or up-to-date, we will take reasonable steps to correct it.
In most cases, we will ask for your consent if we collect, use or disclose your personal information. Sometimes, however, we may not ask you as your consent may be implied.
Disclosure of Your Personal Information
Under certain circumstances, we, will disclose your personal information:
- 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) your consent will be implied, unless you tell us otherwise;
- Where it is necessary to establish or collect fees;
- If we engage expert witnesses on your behalf;
- If we retain other law firms within the province or in other jurisdictions on your behalf; and
- 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.
Is My Personal Information Secure?
We take all reasonable precautions to ensure that your personal information is kept safe from loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. There are many steps taken to protect your information which include:
- Securing our premises;
- Restricting access to personal information;
- Deploying technological safeguards to attempt to prevent unauthorized computer access; and
- Adhering to our Internal password and security policies.
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;
- Information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings against you;
- Granting you access would have an unreasonable impact on other people's privacy;
- Permitting access would prejudice negotiations with you;
- It is necessary to protect our firm's rights and property; and
- 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.
Retention of Personal Information
We are required to retain client files for a reasonable period of time. It is the policy of the firm to retain client files and all information in them for a period of not less than seven years.
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).
Communicating with Us
You should be aware that e-mail is not a 100% secure medium, and you should be aware of this when contacting us to send or receive personal or confidential information by this medium.
Since we regularly review our policies and procedures, we may change this policy from time to time.
Change in Partnership
As we continue to grow, it is foreseeable that the partnership may change. In such circumstances, client information may be transferred as a partnership asset but this information will remain subject to the pre-existing policy.
If you apply to us 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.
Our website may contain links to other websites which are not governed by this policy. On our website, like most other commercial websites, we may monitor traffic patterns, site usage and related site information in order to optimize our web service. In the event we ever provide aggregated information to third parties, these statistics would not include any identifiable personal information.
Requests for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please contact our Privacy Officer at:SMITH NEUFELD JODOIN, Attn: Privacy Officer
#85 Hwy 12 North, Steinbach, Manitoba, R5G 1A7
Telephone: (204) 326-3442
Fax: (204) 326-2154
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at:Privacy Commissioner of Canada
112 Kent Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1H3
Telephone: 1(800) 282-1376