AGB Lawyers recognizes the importance of privacy and the sensitivity of personal information. As lawyers we have a professional obligation to keep confidential all information we receive within a lawyer–client relationship and are committed to protecting any personal information we hold.
Your privacy rights
The law gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
Since January 1, 2004, all businesses engaged in commercial activities 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, the key elements of which are incorporated in PIPEDA. These obligations extend to lawyers and law firms—including AGB Lawyers.
Why AGB Lawyers requires personal information
AGB Lawyers provides legal services and products to a wide range of clients. In doing so, we collect personal information from and about clients in order to serve their legal needs.
We ask you for your personal information so we can
- process, administer and manage your file;
- provide requested services;
- establish and maintain communication with you, including responding to your inquiries; and
- meet any legal, regulatory, processing or security requirement that requires use or disclose of our personal information.
The personal information that we collect is done solely for the purposes described above. If we did not collect and use your personal information, we could not provide you with legal services.
What constitutes personal information?
Personal information is any information that identifies you or would enable someone to deduce your identity.
How AGB Lawyers collects personal information
We collect information only by lawful and fair means and not in an unreasonably intrusive way. Whenever possible, we collect this information directly from you once we have been retained by you and during the course of acting for you as your lawyers.
Sometimes we obtain information about you from other sources. These may include
- your insurance company;
- your real estate agent in a property transaction;
- a government agency or registry;
- your employer, at your request, if we are acting for you; or
- your accountant.
How AGB Lawyers obtains your consent
In most cases, we will ask for your specific consent if we need to collect, use or disclose your personal information. Normally, we ask for this consent in writing; however, in some circumstances, we may accept your verbal consent. Sometimes, your consent may be implied through our relationship or the nature of the work you have retained us to undertake.
How personal information is used
We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you and to administer our time and billing databases. AGB Lawyers does not disclose your personal information to any third party to enable them to market their products and services to you.
AGB Lawyers does not use your Social Insurance Number as a way to identify you or organize the information we hold about you.
Disclosure of personal information
Under certain circumstances, AGB Lawyers will disclose your personal information:
- when you have consented to the disclosure;
- when we have been authorized or are required by law to do so (for example, if a court issues a subpoena);
- when the legal services we are providing to you require us to give your information to third parties (for example, to a lender in a real estate mortgage transaction);
- when it is necessary to establish or collect fees;
- if we retain other law firms on your behalf; or
- if the information is already publicly known.
The importance of updating your personal information
Since we use your personal information to provide you with legal services, it is important that the information be accurate and current. If any of your information changes, please inform us so we can make any necessary changes.
Keeping your information secure
AGB Lawyers takes all reasonable precautions to ensure your personal information is kept safe from loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. The following are among the steps we take to protect your information:
- secured premises (including monitored alarms);
- restricted access to your files;
- technological safeguards such as security software including firewalls to prevent “hacking” or unauthorized computer access; and
- internal password and security policies.
Accessing your personal information
You may ask to for any personal information we hold about you. A summary of this personal information is available on request. Requests for more detailed information that require time to assemble or result in retrieval costs may be subject to our normal professional and disbursement fees.
If AGB Lawyers holds information about you and you can establish that it is not accurate, complete and current, AGB Lawyers will take reasonable steps to correct it.
Denial of access to personal information
Your right 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 privilege by one of our clients);
- the information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings against you;
- granting you access would have an unreasonable impact on another person’s privacy;
- to do so would prejudice negotiations with you;
- it is necessary to protect our firm’s rights and property; or
- the request is frivolous or vexatious.
If we deny your request for access to personal information or refuse to correct information, we will explain why.
Requests for anonymity
Whenever it is legal and practicable, we may offer the opportunity to deal with general inquiries without providing your name.
The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act requires us to confirm the identity of all new clients. It may also require us to disclose information, such as information about large cash transactions, to the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC).
To help us make credit decisions about clients, check the identity of new clients and prevent fraud and money laundering, we may, on occasion, request information from consumer-reporting agencies such as credit bureaus.
Communicating with us by email
When contacting us, or when sending us personal or confidential information, please remember that email is not a secure method of communication.
Changes to this policy
If you apply to AGB Lawyers for employment, we need to look at your personal information as part of our review process. Normally, we will keep the personal information of job candidates on file after a decision is made unless a request is made not to do so. If we offer you a job and you accept, the information will be retained in accordance with our privacy procedures for employee records.
Our website (www.AGBLawyers.com)
Like most businesses, we may monitor our website’s traffic patterns, usage and related information to optimize our web service. We may provide aggregated information to third parties, but these statistics do not include any identifiable personal information.
Requests for access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please write to us at the following address:
2249 Carling Avenue, Suite 210 Ottawa, ON K2B 7E9
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at:
112 Kent Street
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 1H3