Since January 1, 2004, all Canadian organizations engaged in commercial activities have been required to comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) and the Canadian Standards Association Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information incorporated by reference into PIPEDA. These obligations extend to lawyers and law firms, including Hammerberg Lawyers LLP. In addition, an Act respecting the Protection of Personal Information in the Private Sector has been in force in Quebec since 1994 and sets out rules regarding the collection, use and disclosure of personal information within that province. Lastly, as a professional services firm, we have professional and ethical obligations to keep confidential the information we receive in the context of a lawyer-client and agent-client relationship.
Personal information is defined in PIPEDA as information about an identifiable individual, but does not include the name, title or business address or telephone number of an employee of an organization. In other words, it does not include the information that one expects to find on a business card.
Consent to Our Collection of Personal Information
In most cases, we obtain your consent to collect, use and disclose your personal information. Usually, if you retain our firm, we assume that we have your implied consent to our collection and use of your personal information, however, at times we may ask for your express consent, either verbally or in writing. Generally, we collect your personal information directly from you at the start of or during the course of your retainer with our firm. Sometimes we may obtain information about you from other sources such as a government registry or other professionals who serve you.
Use of Personal Information at Hammerberg Lawyers LLP
We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to issue invoices and to maintain our database of clients. In addition, if you apply for a position with Hammerberg Lawyers LLP, we will use your personal information to assess your candidacy. Lastly, we may use your contact information (name, e-mail and postal address) so that we may communicate with you about recent developments in the law, keep you informed of Hammerberg Lawyers LLP news and invite you to our firm events.
Withdrawal of Consent
You may withdraw your consent to our collection, use, storage and disclosure of your personal information at any time, subject to legal and/or contractual restrictions and upon reasonable notice. Your withdrawal of consent to our collection, use and disclosure of your personal information may impact our ability to represent you and provide you with legal advice. You can ask us not to send you marketing communications by following the opt-out instructions in each communication or you may let us know by contacting our administrative department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure of Personal Information
Generally, we do not disclose your personal information to third parties without your consent unless permitted or required by applicable laws or court orders. The following are some examples where we may disclose your personal information: such disclosure is necessary to collect fees or disbursements; we contract with a third party to provide us with certain services such as archival file storage, outsourcing of data processing and storage such as but not limited to externally hosted or “cloud” computing resources and services, or insurance. (In such cases, by providing data and information to us you acknowledge and consent to such data and information being stored by us or third party service providers in Canada or elsewhere as long as the same privacy protection exists as under PIPEDA. In addition, we will use contractual or other means to ensure third party service providers are bound by obligations regarding privacy which are consistent with this policy); or we engage expert witnesses or other law firms on your behalf.
Accuracy of Your Information
It is important that the information that we have on file 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. We may also ask you from time to time whether your personal information is up-to-date.
Hammerberg Lawyers LLP uses various safeguards to ensure that your personal information is protected against loss, theft, misuse, unauthorized access, disclosure, copying or alteration. These include: security of our physical premises; our professional obligations; security software and firewalls to prevent unauthorized computer access or “hacking”; and internal passwords that restrict access to our electronic files.
Access to your Personal Information
You have a right to challenge the accuracy and completeness of your personal information and to have it amended, as appropriate. You also have a right to request access to your personal information and receive an accounting of how that information has been used and disclosed, subject to certain exceptions prescribed by law. For example, if the requested information would reveal personal information about another individual, your request for access may be limited or denied. If your request for access is denied, Hammerberg Lawyers LLP will notify you in writing of the reason for the denial. To request access or to amend your personal information, please contact the lawyer or agent with whom you normally correspond or write to our Privacy Contact at the address below. Hammerberg Lawyers LLP will respond within thirty (30) days of receipt of your written request.
Hammerberg Lawyers LLP will respond to inquiries about its policies and practices relating to its handling of your personal information. Inquiries should be directed to Hammerberg Lawyers LLP’s Privacy Contact using the contact information below. Hammerberg Lawyers LLP will investigate all complaints and will respond within 30 days of receipt of a written inquiry. If the complaint is found to be justified, Hammerberg Lawyers LLP will take appropriate measures to resolve it, including, if necessary, amending this Policy and its procedures.
Legal Opinions and Reference Letters
Legal opinions and reference letters (including references of good standing, financial references or other types of reference) which appear to have been written by or on behalf of Hammerberg Lawyers LLP in connection with one of our clients, staff or partners, or in connection with a client matter or other legal matter must be verified with us. If you receive a letter, email or other communication setting out a legal opinion or reference letter in a manner that suggests that it is from our firm, please contact our office (and specifically the person identified as the writer of the communication) to verify the authenticity of the communication before placing reliance on the contents of the communication.
If you have any questions or complaints about this Policy or the handling of your personal information, if you wish to withdraw your consent to our use of your personal information, or to request access to or update any information we have on file, please contact the lawyer or agent with whom you are dealing, or contact:
Hammerberg Lawyers LLP
Attention: Managing Partner
#1220-1200 West 73rd Avenue,
If any complaint or inquiry is not handled to your complete satisfaction, you may contact:
Privacy Commissioner of Canada
112 Kent Street
Toll free: 1.800.282.1376
Commission d’acces a l’information du Quebec
480 St. Laurent
Toll Free: 1.888.528.7741
Please check back from time to time to ensure you are aware of our current policy.