THE LAW FIRM OF ROSS & MCBRIDE LLP recognizes the importance of privacy and the sensitivity of personal information.  Our relationship with you is founded on trust and we are committed to maintaining that trust. As lawyers we have a professional obligation to keep confidential all information we receive within a lawyer-client relationship.
 
For these reasons, we have created the following privacy policy ( the "Policy").  This Privacy Policy outlines how we manage your personal information and safeguard your privacy.

 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 Ross & McBride LLP.  The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
 
Ross & McBride LLP is responsible for the personal information we collect and hold.  To ensure this accountability, we have developed this policy, and trained our lawyers and support staff about our policies and practices.

 

A.  AN OVERVIEW

1. WHAT THIS POLICY  COVERS 

This Policy covers our treatment of the personal information we collect from you.
 
2. PURPOSES  FOR COLLECTION  OF PERSONAL  INFORMATION 

Our firm collects personal information for the following limited purposes:

  1. to establish and maintain client lists;
  2. to represent you as our client;
  3. to administer our client (time and billing databases); and
  4. to establish and maintain mailing lists.
 
3. 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,
  • Your insurance company;
  • Your real estate agent in a property transaction;
  • From a government agency or registry;
  • Your employer, if we are acting for you, at its request;
  • Your accountant.
 
4. HOW  PERSONAL  INFORMATION  IS MAINTAINED

Our firm does not sell, barter, trade or give away your personal information to third parties. For example, we do not provide our client mailing lists to other law firms.
 
Our firm stores and maintains personal information in conformity with the requirements of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (the "Act") and the

Model Code for  the Protection of Personal Information (the "Code") created and approved by the Canadian Standards Association.

B. APPLICATION OF THE CODE

Ross & McBride LLP applies the ten principles of the Code as follows:

1. ACCOUNTABILITY 

Our firm is responsible for the personal information collected and maintained by it and which is under its control.  In order to fulfill this responsiblity:

  1. We have designated officials to be responsible for the day-to-day care and control of personal information.
  2. Our lawyers oversee compliance with the terms of this Policy; 
  3. Our firm has taken the following measures to ensure compliance with this Policy:
     
    1. Developing procedures to protect personal information;
    2. Developing procedure to receive and respond to complaints and inquires;
    3. Training our staff about our policies and practices respecting personal information; and
    4. Developing and distributing information to our staff and the general public explaining our policies and procedures respecting personal information.
 
2. IDENTIFYING  PURPOSES

Our firm is committed to openness to you regarding its collection and use of personal information.  As discussed above, we collect and use personal information for the following limited purposes:

  1. to establish and maintain client lists;
  2. to represent clients;
  3. to administer our client (time and billing databases); and
  4. to establish and maintain mailing lists. 
 

To demonstrate this openness, we require the consent of our clients and mailing list subscribers prior to using their personal information for any purpose other than that for which it is originally collected.

If any individuals wish to be advised of the personal information we have in relation to them,  they are advised to follow the procedure listed in Section C below.

3. CONSENT 

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.
 
All of our employees, personnel or agents are instructed to provide information about how personal information is used by us to all interested individuals who inquire, as well as how to obtain the consents necessary from those who provide their personal information.
 
Our firm will disclose your personal information, without notice, only in the situations described in s. 5 below.

4. LIMITING COLLECTION 

Our firm restricts the collection of personal information only to that information that is necessary for the limited purposes noted above.  We are committed to collecting personal information in a fair, open and lawful manner.
 
For this resaon, our firm does not indiscriminately collect personal information.  We collect personal information to fulfill the above-noted purposes only, and for no other purpose.

5. LIMITING USE, DISCLOSURE AND RETENTION

Our firm does not use personal information for purposes other than those for which it was originally collected, unless it has first obtained the consent of the person from whom such information was received.
 
Further, Ross & McBride LLP will only disclose your personal information under the following circumstances:

  • 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 a third party to provide administrative services to us (such as back-up services or archival file storage) and the third party is bound by our privacy policy;
  • If we engage expert witnesses on your behalf;
  • If we retain other law firms in other jurisdictions,  on your behalf;
  • If the information is already publicly known.

We retain personal information only for as long as it is needed and only for the fulfillment of the purposes for which it was originally collected.

6. ACCURACY

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 of such changes and we will update our records accordingly.
 
You may confirm the accuracy of your personal information by contacting our firm and the official assigned to oversee the day-to-day care and control of personal information by writing or emailing your request to the address set out in Section C below.

7. SAFEGUARDS 

Our firm takes 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;
  •  Internal password and security policies.
 

If we use the services of any third parties to process personal information, we will enter into legal agreements which require them to protect this personal information in a manner acceptable to us. In entering into these legal agreements, we do not transfer any interest in this personal information to them. Rather, the purpsoe of these legal agreements is to ensure that the personal information delivered to third parties is maintained at a level of security equal to that provided under this Policy.

We also ensure that any of our employees who deal with personal information are properly tranined and are aware of the necessary and appropriate measure required to protect personal information.

8. OPENNESS

Our firm makes information about its policies and practices respecting the collection and maintenance of personal information available to all interested parties.
 
We are pleased to answer any question that you may have regarding the collection and maintenance of personal information.  Please forward any questions in writing or via email to the address set out in  Section C below

9. INDIVIDUAL  ACCESS

You may ask for access to any personal information we hold about you.  However, we reserve the right to confirm the identity of the person seeking access to personal information before complying with any access requests.
 
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.
 
However, 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; 
  • When to do so would prejudice negotiations with you; 
  • To protect our firm's rights and property; 
  • Where the request is frivolous or vexatious. 
 

If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, we shall provide you with a written explanation for such denial.

10. CHALLENGING  COMPLIANCE

Our firm has designated officials who are responsible for the day-to-day care and control of personal information.  These officials will receive and respond to all information requests regarding our privacy policies or about your personal information under our care and control.

We investigate all complaints received by us and will respond in writing in a timely manner.  If any complaint is found to be justified, then we will take appropriate measures to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the complainant.

C. HOW TO ACCESS OR AMEND YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

1. REQUESTS  FOR ACCESS

 
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please write to our Privacy Contact at:
 
ROSS & MCBRIDE LLP
Attn: Linda Wotherspoon
P.O. Box 907 Hamilton, ON L8N 3P6
email: lwotherspoon@rossmcbride.com

If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at:

112 Kent Street,
Ottawa Ontario, K I A 1H3 1.800.282.1376.

 

2. 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.

D.   NOTES

1. CHANGES  TO THIS PRIVACY  POLICY

Since Ross & McBride LLP regularly reviews all of its policies and procedures, we may change our Privacy Policy from time to time.