If I Speak To A Lawyer Is this Communication Confidential?
April 8, 2011 / Category: Frequently Asked Questions
Objective of Policy
You give us permission to use your Personal Information to contact, correspond with and, when necessary, collect further Personal Information from you or any third party, including any adjuster, lawyer, employer, healthcare provider, financial service provider or any other person or entity that may be necessary in our absolute discretion to carry out fully our representation of you pursuant to this Contract. You also understand and agree that it may be necessary from time to time for you to disclose some of your Personal Information to such third parties (including your name, contact information, medical information and any other information regarding your claim) and you consent to such disclosure when deemed necessary by us in our discretion to carry out our obligations to you under this Contract.
Your Privacy Rights
From January 1, 2004 all businesses engaged in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and the Canadian Standards Association Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information, which it incorporates. These obligations extend to lawyers and law firms, including Stayshyn Law Offices. The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information. Stayshyn Law Offices is responsible for the personal information we collect and hold. To ensure this accountability, we have developed this policy.
Why Does Stayshyn Law Offices need Personal Information
We provide legal services and products to a wide range of clients. In doing so, it produces direct marketing materials concerning its services and developments in the law.
What personal information do we collect?
Personal information is any information that identifies you, or by which your identity could be deduced. If we did not collect and use your personal information we could not provide you with legal services.
How do we collect your personal information?
We collect information only by lawful and fair means and not in an unreasonably intrusive way. Wherever possible we collect your personal information directly from you, at the start of a retainer and in the course of our representation. Sometimes we may obtain information about you from other sources: for example:
- insurance companies, and its agents and solicitors;
- your real estate agent in a property transaction;
- from a government agency or registry;
- your employer;
- your accountant;
- your doctors and treatment providers;
- your friends and relatives;
- Revenue Canada and other financial institutions;
In most cases, we shall ask you to specifically consent, if we collect, use, or disclose your personal information. Normally, we ask for your consent in writing, but in some circumstances, we may accept your oral consent. Sometimes, your consent may be implied through your conduct with us.
Use of Your Information
We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to administer our client (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. We do not disclose your personal information to any third party to enable them to market their products and services. For example, we do not provide our client mailing lists to other law firms.
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.
- when you will be assessed by a medical specialist, treatment provider or other expert required in your case.
- to an insurance company as required by your policy of insurance and/or legal obligations, and/or at the discretion of Stayshyn Law Offices in furtherance of your matter.
- when you have consented to the disclosure;
- when the legal services we are providing to you require us give your information to third parties 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, on your behalf;
- if the information is already publicly known;
- with other lawyers, experts and other parties who may have knowledge about the issues in your case;
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. Among the steps taken to protect your information are:
- premises security;
- restricted file access to personal information;
- deploying technological safeguards like security software and firewalls to prevent hacking or unauthorized computer access;
Access to Your Personal Information
You may ask for access to any personal information we hold about you.
Summary information is available on 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 and up-to-date, we 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.
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 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;
- to protect our firm\’s rights and property;
If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, we shall explain why. We do not use your Social Insurance Number as a way of identifying or organizing the information we hold upon you.
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). 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 disclose information to FINTRAC in relation to certain large cash transactions.
To help us make credit decisions about clients, prevent fraud, check the identity of new clients and prevent money-laundering, we may on occasion, request information about you from the files of consumer reporting agencies.
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 personal or confidential information.
Requests for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please speak to the lawyer in carriage of your file, who will be the privacy officer on your file. If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at 112 Kent Street, Ottawa Ontario, K1A 1H3 1.800.282.1376.
As your lawyers, we may have to share relevant information about your case with the Defendant\’s lawyers and the Court. However, unless we need to share this information as part of our work, all information you give us will be kept strictly confidential. You authorize us to send to you correspondence, documents and other information related to your case that may be protected by a solicitor-and-client or settlement privilege (or otherwise be categorized by you as confidential or private in nature) through the use of the Internet (and, particularly, e-mail) in an unencrypted condition and without any guarantee of security or protection from interception by a third party.