McKercher LLP (“McKercher”) has always been committed to protecting our clients’ privacy. We fully abide by the strict standards governing the legal profession, which require us to respect and protect our clients’ privacy and the confidentiality surrounding the services that we provide.
Since January 1, 2004, The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) has applied to all private sector businesses across Canada, including our firm. PIPEDA requires McKercher to make our information-handling practices available to our clients.
What is “Personal Information”?
It is information about an identifiable individual, but does not include such publicly available information as an individual’s name, title, business address or telephone number. The fact that a client has retained McKercher to provide legal services is confidential, and without express prior consent, that fact will not be disclosed to any third party beyond disclosure that is reasonably necessary to provide those legal services.
Why do we collect personal information?
We collect information to enable our lawyers to assist clients by fully assessing their ongoing legal needs, and in delivering legal services, disseminating information to our clients, and for business administration purposes.
If you have registered for one of our firm events, we will use the contact information provided to us in order to notify you of similar firm events in the future, and to facilitate your online registration for such events, unless you expressly revoke consent for us to do so.
How do we collect your personal information?
We will collect personal information directly from individuals or, in some cases, from their professional agent, from third parties including your employer, insurance provider, your financial institution or someone who is your professional agent.
Use of your personal information
At all times, McKercher complies with the duties of confidentiality and disclosure which are owed to clients, to the Court, and to the legal profession generally.
10 basic principles
We collect, use and disclose personal information in accordance with 10 basic principles set out in PIPEDA:
- Identifying purposes for collection, use & disclosure of information
- Consent to collect, use & disclose information
- Limiting collection to what is reasonably required
- Limiting the use, disclosure and retention of information
- Accuracy of information
- Safeguards to protect information
- Openness about our information handling practices
- Access to information held
- Compliance with PIPEDA
Your consent is important
McKercher will ensure that individuals consent to our collection, use, or disclosure of personal information, except where the law provides an exemption. Consent may be express, or it may be implied by the circumstances in which we gather the information, or in which the information is used.
Disclosure of personal information
PIPEDA provides that in specific circumstances, information may be disclosed without an individual’s consent, subject always to a lawyer’s duty of confidentiality to a client. These circumstances are outlined in section 7(3) of PIPEDA and include:
- to collect a debt
- to comply with a supboena; warrant; rules of court; order of a court, person or body with jurisdiction to compel production of the information;
- to a government institution or investigative body under certain specific circumstances that are legally prescribed by PIPEDA;
- to a person who needs the information because of an emergency that threatens the life, health or security of an individual and, but we will informs the individual in writing, without delay, of the disclosure;
- in certain other circumstances that are specifically prescribed by PIPEDA.
In such circumstances we will not disclose any more information than is necessary.
Accessing the personal information that we maintain
You may request this information from the lawyer who is handling your file or from our firm’s Privacy Compliance Officer. If McKercher intends to refuse a request, we will inform you of this, in writing, explaining the reasons for our decision and any recourse that you may have, including the option of filing a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner.
McKercher may require payment of a fee to cover the reasonable administrative costs associated with preparing a response or providing information in response to a request for information.
We will, with your help, maintain the accuracy of your information
If your personal information changes, we ask that you advise us promptly, so that we may maintain accurate information.
How long will we retain your personal information?
McKercher will retain personal information for as long as necessary to fulfill the purposes for which it was collected. We will abide by standards governing the legal profession regarding information retention periods. Personal information that is no longer required to fulfill our identified purposes will, after the appropriate retention period, be destroyed, erased, or made anonymous.
How will we protect your personal information?
We will take reasonable precautions to ensure that your personal information is not improperly disclosed to third parties, and that it is kept safe from loss, unauthorized access or tampering. We will implement reasonable technological measures to prevent unauthorized access by others to the information that we hold.
What can you do if you disagree with our handling of your personal information?
Please provide any complaint or request for information to our firm’s Privacy Compliance Officer, in writing, at the address below. We will respond within 30 days, though we may request a time extension from you in order to provide a fuller response.
OUR PRIVACY CONTACTS:
If you have any questions or concerns about how McKercher handles your personal information, please contact our Privacy Officer, Michelle J. Ouellette:
Saskatoon Office or Regina Office Privacy Queries:
374 3rd Ave. South
Saskatoon, SK S7K 1M5
Tel: (306) 653-2000
Fax: (306) 244-7335
Attn: Privacy Officer (Kaylea M. Dunn)
ADDITIONAL PIPEDA INFORMATION:
The Privacy Commissioner of Canada
112 Kent Street,
Ottawa Ontario, K1A 1H3
Toll Free: 1-800-282-1376.