Cox & Palmer recognizes the importance of client privacy, and we are committed to ensuring the privacy, accuracy, and security of personal information we collect, use, and disclose in the course of providing legal services to our clients and operating our law firm. As a law firm, we collect, use and disclose personal information in accordance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). In addition, as practicing lawyers we have a professional and ethical obligation to keep confidential all information we receive within a lawyer-client relationship. Any information collected, used, created, or relied upon over the course of this relationship is protected by solicitor-client privilege.
This Privacy Statement outlines in general terms Cox & Palmer’s principles and guidelines for the collection, use, disclosure, and protection of the personal information of our clients and other individuals.
The Personal Information We May Collect
In providing our legal services and operating our business, we may collect different types of personal information about you and, in some cases, other individuals, which may include:
- Contact information (such as name, email address and telephone number);
- Billing and financial information (such as billing address, bank account and payment information);
- Health information;
- Identification and other background verification data to check for conflicts of interest, and comply with client identification and verification regulations; and
- Other personal information provided by you or collected from other sources.
How We Collect Personal Information
We collect personal information by lawful and fair means. Wherever possible, we collect your personal information directly from you or from others you have asked to provide us with such information. Depending on the legal services provided, with your consent, we may also obtain relevant personal information from third parties, including but not limited to medical professionals, public registries such as the Land Registration System or the Probate Registry, financial institutions, professional service providers, your employer, motor vehicle and driver licensing authorities, law enforcement, and investigators.
Please note that if you provide personal information to us about other people, you must ensure that you have notified those individuals that you are providing their information to us and have obtained their consent to that disclosure.
How We Use Personal Information
We use personal information to provide our clients with optimal professional and legal services, to operate our business, and more specifically:
- To establish and maintain commercial relationships with clients, suppliers, and other third parties, including to administer accounts, issue invoices, evaluate credit standing, match credit bureau or reporting agency information, collect and process payments, and to fulfil contractual obligations;
- To establish and manage client relationships, provide legal advice, perform legal services, fulfill legal duties, and avoid conflicts of interest;
- To represent clients in the context of business transactions involving the exchange or disclosure of personal information, including by purchase, sale, lease, merger, amalgamation, and other types of acquisition or transaction;
- To share personal information with third parties (such opposing parties, parties with shared interests, opposing counsel and advisors, witnesses, courts, adjudicators, arbitrators, other decision-makers, and experts) for the purpose of legal proceedings, including conducting litigation, settlement negotiations, arbitrations, mediations, or other proceedings;
- To maintain, develop and manage our document management, knowledge-management and precedent systems and databases;
- To develop, manage and enhance our business and operations;
- To evaluate, establish, manage, or terminate employment or contractual relationships;
- As permitted by, and to comply with, any legal, regulatory or risk-management requirements or provisions; and
- For any other purpose to which you consent.
Our practice is to request your express consent to the collection, use, and disclosure of your personal information in accordance with this Privacy Statement, which may be given in person, in writing or over the telephone. We may also determine that such consent is implied when you initiate contact with us and provide personal information.
There are certain circumstances where we are required or permitted by law to collect, use and disclose personal information without consent. We will handle all personal information confidentially and will substantiate the legal authority to collect, use and disclose personal information in these circumstances.
How We Disclose Personal Information
When we release information about you, it is done to serve specific needs in the course of providing legal services. With your consent, we may provide information to:
- Cox & Palmer staff and agents who use the information for the reasonable business purpose of providing you with legal services;
- Professionals working with us such as investigators, paralegals, and experts;
- Financial institutions (for example, the institution that carries your mortgage); and
- Other parties, when required by law, such as in litigation where the information must be disclosed in accordance with applicable Civil Procedure Rules.
Security of Personal Information
In order to protect your personal information, we will maintain appropriate physical measures (e.g., restricted access to files and office space), organizational controls (e.g., staff training, policies, and contractual protections) and technological safeguards (e.g., passwords or encryption).
Retention of Personal Information
Personal information is retained by Cox & Palmer only for as long as it is required for the purpose for which it was collected and in compliance with applicable legal requirements. This may result in us holding personal information beyond the end of our relationship with an individual. When information is no longer required, Cox & Palmer implements procedures to delete, destroy or convert it into an anonymous form.
Access to Personal Information
You may request access to the personal information we have about you. The request must be in writing and directed to the Cox & Palmer Privacy Officer identified below. We may charge a reasonable fee for retrieval and copying of your personal information. If the retrieval or copying or your request is extensive, we will notify you of the fee prior to retrieval and copying.
You have the right to request a correction of the personal information we hold about you. We rely on you to provide us with accurate and up-to-date personal and business contact information for the purposes of providing you with legal services and to maintain contact with you. If during the course of our professional relationship, any of your information changes, please inform us so that we can make any necessary changes.
Can I be Denied Access to My Personal Information?
There are exceptions to your right to access your personal information. By law, we must deny access when, for example:
- Your file contains personal information on a third party and the information cannot be severed to maintain the privacy of the third party information; or
- It 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).
We have the right to deny access to your information and may deny access when your information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings against you, including unpaid bills to the law firm. If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, we shall explain why. In all cases we will attempt to mediate a resolution if possible.
Under applicable privacy legislation, Cox & Palmer is responsible for the personal information that we collect and control. In addition to appointing a Privacy Officer to be responsible for privacy matters in the firm, we have established policies for protecting the personal information that we collect and control. The names and contact information of our Privacy Officers are provided at the end of this statement.
Changes to this Privacy Statement
This Privacy Statement may be amended from time to time as part of our regular review of all of our policies and procedures and to ensure compliance with legislative and technological changes. Notice of changes will be published on our website and will apply to all information collected and held by Cox & Palmer, including information collected before the change.
Our website may contain links to other sites, which are not governed by this Privacy Statement. Like many other commercial websites, we may monitor traffic patterns, site usage and related site information in order to optimize our web service. We may provide aggregated information to third parties, but this does not include any identifiable personal information.
Please contact the appropriate Privacy Officer using the contact information below if you:
- Wish to access your personal information;
- Wish to change your consent regarding the manner in which we collected, used, or disclosed your personal information as outlined in our Privacy Statement; and/or
- Have concerns about our privacy policies or how we have handled your personal information.
New Brunswick: Deirdre L. Wade, QC (506) 633-4205
Newfoundland & Labrador: Anna M. Cook (709) 570-5565
Nova Scotia: Matt Saunders, CIPP/C (902) 491-4221
Prince Edward Island: Isabelle Keeler (902) 629-3906
If we are unable to resolve your concerns to your satisfaction, you may contact the federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner at: Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, QC, K1A 1H3, Toll-free: 1-800-282-1376, Phone: (819) 994-5444.