JANUARY 1, 2004
Gardiner Roberts LLP recognizes the importance of privacy and the sensitivity of
personal information. As lawyers we have a professional obligation to keep confidential
all information we receive within a lawyer-client relationship. We are committed
we manage your personal information and safeguard your privacy.
Your Privacy Rights
From January 1, 2004, all Ontario organizations engaged in commercial activities
must comply with the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents
Act, also known as PIPEDA.
Gardiner Roberts LLP is responsible for the personal information we collect, use
and disclose. To ensure this accountability, we have developed this policy and educated
our lawyers and staff about our policies and practices.
"Personal Information" means information about an identifiable individual but does
not include the name, title, business address, or telephone number of any employee
of any organization.
Why Does Gardiner Roberts LLP Collect Personal Information From You?
We collect personal information from our clients to:
- provide legal services to you, in accordance with your instructions;
bill you for legal services rendered;
- provide information to you about developments in the law; and
- advise you of upcoming firm events, or market our legal services to you, help us
make credit decisions about clients, prevent fraud, check the identity of new clients
and prevent money-laundering.
How Do We Collect Your Personal Information?
We collect information only by lawful and fair means and not indiscriminately. We
may collect personal information directly from you at the start of a retainer, or
in the course of our representation.
Sometimes we may obtain information about you from other sources such as
- your insurance company;
- your real estate agent, mortgage brokers or lenders in a property transaction;
- credit bureaus or consumer reporting agencies;
- a government agency or registry;
- your employer, if we are acting for you at your employer’s request;
- your accountant;
- other consultants retained by you to assist with your legal concerns;
- other parties involved in the same matter in which we are assisting you.
Consent for the collection, use and/or disclosure of personal information may be
obtained orally or in writing and may be expressly given or implied. We may also
from time to time when we are providing services to you ask us to give your written
consent to the use and disclosure of specific personal information. In determining
how we obtain your consent, we will take into account the sensitivity of your personal
information that we are collecting, using and/or disclosing.
If You Don’t Consent
The choice to provide Gardiner Roberts LLP with personal information is always up
to you. Upon request, we will explain your options of refusing or withdrawing consent
to the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information and will record
and respect your written choices. However, your decision to withhold particular
details may limit Gardiner Roberts LLP’s ability to provide our services to you.
This measure is necessary to protect the integrity of the services offered by Gardiner
Roberts LLP. Furthermore, any refusing or withdrawing of consent is always subject
to any overriding legal requirements or commitments.
Disclosure of Your Personal Information
Under certain circumstances Gardiner Roberts LLP may disclose your personal information:
- when we are required or authorized by law to do so;
- when the legal services we are providing require us to give your information to
third parties (for example, to a lender or the other party in a real estate or 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 computer
back-up services or archival file storage) and the third party is bound by our privacy
- if we engage expert witnesses on your behalf;
- if we retain other law firms in other jurisdictions on your behalf;
- if we are involved in negotiations for the merger or transfer of our practice;
- if the information is already publicly known.
Updating Your Information
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 the information changes, or if you should become aware that the personal
information which we have is incorrect, please inform us so that we can make the
Is My Personal Information Secure?
Gardiner Roberts LLP 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 access to personal information;
- deploying technological safeguards such as security software and firewalls to prevent
hacking or unauthorized computer access;
- internal password and security policies;
- obligation of each lawyer to maintain client confidentiality under the Rules of
Professional Conduct of the Law Society of Upper Canada;
- where necessary or appropriate, by requiring third parties to sign a confidentiality
As Gardiner Roberts LLP is responsible for any personal information under its control,
including personal information that Gardiner Roberts LLP may transfer to a third
party for processing, we will use contractual or other means to provide a comparable
level of privacy protection when personal information is being processed by a third
party on Gardiner Roberts LLP's behalf.
Access to Your Personal Information
You may request access to any personal information we hold about you. Summary information
is available on written request. More detailed requests that require archive retrieval
or copying costs may be subject to reasonable reimbursement for our actual costs.
Can I be Denied Access to My Personal Information?
Your rights to access your personal information are not absolute. We may deny access
- 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;
- granting you access would have an unreasonable impact on other people’s privacy;
- to do so would prejudice negotiations with you;
- to protect our firm’s rights and property;
- the request is frivolous or vexatious.
If we deny your request for access, or refuse a request to correct information,
we will explain why.
Gardiner Roberts LLP does not use your Social Insurance Number as a way of identifying
or organizing the information we hold about you, but we may need it for income tax
reporting purposes if we hold or invest funds for you in our trust accounts.
How Long Do You Keep My Personal Information?
We retain your personal information for as long as is reasonably necessary for us
to complete our dealings with you, or as may be required by law or for purpose of
compliance with our professional obligations.
Although PIPEDA does not apply to our employee information, we have elected to follow
privacy “best practices” in this area. If you apply to Gardiner Roberts LLP for
a job we need to consider your personal information as part of our review process.
We normally retain information from candidates after a decision has been made, unless
you ask us not to retain your information. If you accept a job with us, the information
will be retained in accordance with our privacy procedures for personnel records.
We may also disclose this information to our payroll and employee benefits providers.
Our website (www.gardiner-roberts.com)
no specific personal information is retained with respect to any visitor to our
website, like most other commercial websites we do monitor traffic patterns, site
usage and related site information to optimise our web service. In the continuing
development of our website we may provide aggregated information to third parties,
but these statistics do not contain any identifiable personal information.
Communicating with Us
Email is not a 100% secure medium and you should be aware of this when contacting
us to send personal or confidential information.
Since Gardiner Roberts LLP regularly reviews all of its policies and procedures,