We recognize the importance of privacy when it comes to personal information and we are committed to treating any such information that we collect, use or disclose in a responsible manner and only as reasonably necessary for our purposes.
We are responsible for all personal information in our possession or control. This would extend to information to which third parties who provide goods or services to our firm may have access and/or persons whose involvement is required in order for us to provide our services to you. We restrict such access to third parties as much as is reasonably possible and request their assurances that they follow appropriate privacy principles.
Why we collect Personal Information
The primary purposes for which we collect, use and disclose personal information is to serve our clients or potential clients, to market our services and other purposes which would be considered related or otherwise reasonable in the circumstances.
For example, we collect, use and disclose personal information for the following reasons:
- to evaluate client needs and advise on legal matters
- to process transactions on behalf of our clients
- to represent clients in legal matters and proceedings
- to investigate matters for our clients
- to permit us to market or promote our services to clients or prospective clients
We also collect, use and disclose personal information for secondary purposes such as:
- to advise clients on developments in the law
- to invoice clients, process or collect accounts
- to provide mailings, seminars or invitations to special events
- to communicate new developments at our firm, in the law or in other matters of
- interest to our clients or prospective clients
- to assess and evaluate the performance of our staff and services
- to report to required regulatory authorities, including the Law Society and our insurer
If we were to sell our business or to merge with another entity that other party would want to perform a due diligence investigation of our firm, including its records to ensure the accuracy of the information we have provided and the viability of the business. This would likely include our accounting and service files. Before we would permit this disclosure, we would obtain an agreement from such third party to keep all personal information confidential.
If we plan to use or disclose personal information we have collected for a purpose not previously identified, we will make a reasonable effort to specify the identified purposes, orally or in writing, to the individual from whom the personal information has been collected before use or disclosure.
In order to protect their own interests, individuals or organizations should not send confidential information to CCSB until they have had a direct discussion with a professional at the firm regarding the retention of CCSB to provide legal services.
CCSB does not sell, trade, barter or exchange for consideration any Personal Information it has obtained.
Unless in the context of providing legal or other services, CCSB does not knowingly collect Personal Information from anyone under the age of 18, especially children under 13, and does not use such information if it discovers that it has been provided by a minor.
There are some circumstances where we are permitted or required under law to collect, use or disclose personal information without the knowledge or consent of the individual. These circumstances include: personal information which is subject to solicitor-client privilege or is publicly available as defined by the regulation; where collection or use is clearly in the interests of the individual and consent cannot be obtained in a timely way; to investigate a breach of an agreement or a contravention of a law; to act in respect to an emergency that threatens the life, health or security of an individual; for debt collection; or to comply with a subpoena, warrant or court order.
We will take appropriate steps to ensure adequate safeguards are in place to protect the personal information which we obtain.
Our safeguards include ensuring the paper information is stored in a supervised or secure location and that electronic information is also secure with restricted third party access through the use of passwords. Our staff is trained to ensure that they are aware of the sensitivity of such information and that they will collect, use and disclose personal information only as necessary to perform their duties and in accordance with this policy. Our third party contractors or agents who have access to personal information will be required to confirm that they follow appropriate privacy practices.
While we do not intend to keep personal information for longer than is reasonable, we do keep personal information for some time so that we are able to answer questions about our services and to account to regulatory authorities. Normally we close client files after a matter is completed and no further services anticipated and thereafter the file is generally destroyed after seven (7) years. Our client contact information and directories are kept longer unless you advise us that you wish to have the same removed. Our accounting and financial files are normally kept for a minimum of seven (7) years.
We destroy paper files with personal information by shredding or discarding same in garbage receptacles; we destroy electronic information by deleting it. We may also send or return the personal information to our client.
Openness and Access
With some exceptions, we will give you access to the personal information we retain about you upon request. We will need to confirm your identity before providing such access. We ask that you provide any request or identify any problem relating to such personal information in writing. We will respond within 30 days with the information requested or if this is not possible we will advise you of the reason. Much of the personal information we collect is protected by solicitor and client privilege and may therefore not be disclosed without the client's consent.
Other exceptions may include information that contains references to other individuals or contains confidential commercial information, where such information cannot be severed from the record.
Correcting personal information
If you believe there is a mistake in the personal information we have, you have the right to ask that it be corrected. You may be required to provide documentation confirming the error. Where we agree that there is a mistake, we will correct the information and notify anyone to whom we have sent this information. If we do not agree that a mistake has been made, we will include in our file a brief statement from you on the point and will forward that statement to anyone else to whom we had provided the information.
Howard G. Cooper
Cummings, Cooper, Schusheim, Berliner LLP
4100 Yonge Street, Suite 408
Toronto, ON M2P 2B5