(effective February 2011)
Statement on Privacy
Michel Drapeau Law Office (MDLO) is dedicated to maintaining high standards of confidentiality with respect to the information that has been provided either by our clients or prospective clients (hereafter: “clients”), agents and employees. This Policy Statement has been prepared to affirm our commitment to maintaining the privacy of our clients, agents or employees and to inform the reader of our practices concerning the collection, protection, use and disclosure of “personal information” provided to MDLO.
Personal Information Defined
We consider ‘personal information’ to mean any information, recorded in any form, about an identified individual or an individual whose identity may be inferred or determined from such information, other than business contact information (e.g. name, title, business address, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail address).
Why We Collect Personal Information
MDLO collects information provided in writing (including via electronic media) or verbally about clients and does so to fulfill its mandate of providing a wide range legal services. In particular, we collect information for one or more of the following purposes:
- Communicating with and determining the needs our clients;
- Providing services and information to our clients;
- Billing purposes;
- Meeting any legal or regulatory requirement vis-à-vis our clients or employees; and
- Such other purposes consistent with the foregoing purposes.
We also collect personal information from our employees in order to meet our statutory obligations and manage our relationship.
How We Use Personal Information
MDLO only collects uses and discloses personal information for purposes that would be considered reasonable in the circumstances and only such information as is required for the purposes of providing services or information to our clients or personnel. We use only fair and lawful methods to collect personal information.
Our use of personal information is limited to the purposes described in this policy statement.
When Do We Disclose Personal Information
As a general rule, all information concerning a client or our personnel is held in strict confidence and, except in limited circumstances, is not revealed to anyone unless expressly or implicitly authorized by the client or the employee concerned. We do not release or lease the name, address, telephone number and e-mail address of our clients or employees to anyone unless we have written agreement from the client with respect to the disclosure of such information.
There may be circumstances where the use and/or disclosure of personal information may be justified or permitted or where the MDLO would be obliged to disclose information without consent. Such circumstances may include:
- Where required by law or by order or requirement of a court, administrative agency or other governmental tribunal;
- Where MDLO believes, upon reasonable grounds, that it is necessary to protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of an identifiable person or group;
- Where it is necessary to establish or collect fees;
- Where it is necessary to permit MDLO to pursue available remedies or limit any damages that MDLO may sustain; or
- Where the information is already in the public domain.
Where obliged or permitted to disclose information without consent, MDLO will not disclose more information than is required.
Consent to Collect/Use or Disclose
Unless permitted by law, no personal information is collected, without first obtaining the consent of the individual concerned to the collection, use and dissemination of that information.
If a client or employee consents, his/her personal information shall then be used for the purposes indicated in this policy statement. If a member does not consent, then his/her personal information shall be used by MDLO only for the purposes of communicating with the client and shall not be provided to anyone else.
The Accuracy and Retention of Personal Information
MDLO endeavors to ensure that any personal information provided by clients or employees and in its possession is as accurate, current and complete as necessary for the purposes for which MDLO uses that information. If we become aware that personal information is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date, MDLO will revise the aid personal information and, if necessary, use its best efforts to inform third parties which were provided with inaccurate information so that those third parties may also correct their records. Information about a former client is not actively maintained and, for so long as it is held by MDLO, MDLO cannot assure the accuracy of such information.
We keep your personal information only as long as it is required for the reasons it was collected. This period may extend beyond the end of client or employee relationship with MDLO but it will be only for so long as it is necessary for us to communicate with you or to have sufficient information to respond to any issues that may arise at a later date. When your personal information is no longer required by the MDLO, we have procedures to destroy, delete, erase or convert it into an anonymous form.
Currently, the principal place in which MDLO holds personal information is the City of Ottawa.
Protection of Personal Information
MDLO endeavors to maintain appropriate physical, procedural and technical security with respect to its offices and information storage facilities so as to prevent any loss, misuse, unauthorized access, disclosure, or modification of personal information. This also applies to our disposal or destruction of personal information.
MDLO further protects personal information by restricting access to it to those employees whom the management of MDLO has determined need to know that information so that we may provide our products, services or information.
If any employee of MDLO misuses personal information, this will be considered as a serious offence for which disciplinary action may be taken, up to and including termination of employment. If any individual or organization misuses personal information – provided for the purpose of providing services to or for MLDO – this will be considered a serious issue for which action may be taken, up to and including termination of any agreement between the MDLO and that individual or organization or an action against such an individual or organization.
We audit our procedures and security measures from time to time to ensure they remain effective and appropriate.
Access to Your Personal Information
MDLO permits the reasonable right of access and review of personal information held by us about a client and will endeavor to provide the information in question within a reasonable time and no later than 30 days following the request. Requests should be addressed to our Privacy Officer, the Director of Corporate Administration (Nicole Bélanger-Drapeau)
Where information will not or cannot be disclosed, the individual making the request will be provided with the reasons for non-disclosure.
A visitor to the MDLO web site (www.mdlo.ca) is not required to reveal any individually identifiable information, such as name, address, or telephone number. Nor is such information collected passively by electronic means.
Our web server does not collect visitor information in the form of the visitor’s domain or Internet Protocol (IP) address but does collect information regarding which pages are being accessed. This information is used internally, only in aggregate form, to better serve visitors by helping us to
- Manage our sites;
- Diagnose any technical problems; and
- Improve the content of our web site.
Email Communications with MDLO
The information that MDLO provides on its Website is general and is not addressed to any Internet user in particular. Thus, despite the relevance and veracity of the information, it does not constitute either legal advice, or a legal opinion. MDLO is not responsible for any action taken or not taken in reaction to this general information. Because of the general nature of this information, it is necessary to consult a lawyer before making any legal decision.
Moreover, the mere fact of visiting our Website, or asking questions, or making comments electronically via email DOES NOT, repeat DOES NOT, create a solicitor-client relationship.
Therefore, we ask you to not give any confidential or personal information in your emails because we may represent the opposite party.
Our clients are routinely advised of the dangers of using workplace emails to communicate with us about their legal matters.
Our clients are also advised that email containing their personal information or information that is protected by the privilege avocat-client can be intercepted while routed over the internet.
Social Media Networking Sites
MDLO does not communicate or interact with clients or employees in professional, work or social spheres with or within any social networking sites.
This statement is in effect as of February, 2011. MDLO will, from time to time, review and revise its privacy practices and this Policy. In the event of any amendment, a notice will be posted on our website.