Objective & Scope of Policy
For the purposes of this Policy, "Personal Information" means any information, recorded in any form, about an identified individual, or an individual whose identity may be inferred or determined from the information. This policy does not cover any information, recorded in any form, about more than one individual where the identity of the individuals is not known and cannot be inferred from the information. In Alberta "personal information" does not include business contact information such as your office address, job title, business phone number, email address, fax number or other related business contact information.
McLennan Ross LLP ("McLennan Ross") is a law firm with offices in Edmonton, Calgary and Yellowknife. As professionals, we are dedicated to maintaining high standards of confidentiality with respect to the information that has been provided to us. This Policy Statement, along with the Firm's Internal Confidentiality Policy, has been prepared to affirm our commitment to maintaining the privacy of our clients and others and to inform you of our practices concerning the collection, use and disclosure of Personal Information collected by McLennan Ross.
Our obligations as legal professionals are governed by the Rules of Professional Conduct. These obligations apply to all professionals, employees, contractors and agents who provide services in connection with our delivery of services to our clients. Using contractual or other arrangements, McLennan Ross will ensure that agents, contractors and third party service providers, who may receive Personal Information in the course of providing services to McLennan Ross as part of our delivery of products and services, protect that Personal Information consistently with the principles expressed in this Policy Statement.
As a general rule, all information concerning the business and affairs of a person or organization acquired for the purpose of determining whether McLennan Ross will enter into a professional relationship or in the course of a professional relationship will be held in strict confidence and not revealed to anyone unless expressly or implicitly authorized by the person or organization concerned. A professional relationship commences when McLennan Ross agrees to be retained to provide services to a particular individual or organization. In order to protect their own interests, individuals or organizations should not send confidential information to McLennan Ross until they have had a direct discussion with a professional at the firm regarding the retention of McLennan Ross to provide legal services.
The Collection, Use & Disclosure of Personal Information
McLennan Ross will collect from individuals or organizations only such information as is required for the purposes of providing services or information to them. When we make directed individual requests for your relevant personal information from a particular organization or business, such as medical professionals or financial institutions, we will obtain your prior consent.
McLennan Ross collects e-mail and mailing addresses from individuals attending seminars or subscribing to publications offered by the Firm. The Firm uses information collected through such contacts to send them the publication they have requested, and also to provide information that may be of possible interest.
McLennan Ross does not sell, trade, barter or exchange for consideration any Personal Information it has obtained.
Unless permitted by law, no Personal Information is collected about an individual, without first obtaining the consent of the individual to the collection, use and dissemination of that information. Consent may be written, verbal or implied as necessary to further your legal needs.
Personal Information will be collected, to the extent possible, directly from the individual concerned.
McLennan Ross may, from time to time, disclose Personal Information to organizations that perform services on behalf of the Firm. Personal Information will only be provided to such organizations if they agree to use such information solely for the purposes of providing services to McLennan Ross to act in a manner consistent with the relevant principles articulated in this Policy.
There are circumstances where the use and/or disclosure of Personal Information may occur or where McLennan Ross is 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 any other government tribunal;
- where McLennan Ross 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 monies owing to McLennan Ross;
- where it is necessary to permit McLennan Ross to pursue available remedies or limit any damages that McLennan Ross may sustain; or
- where the information is public.
When obliged or permitted to disclose information without consent, McLennan Ross will not disclose more information than is required.
McLennan Ross endeavours to ensure that any Personal Information provided and in its possession is as accurate, current and complete as necessary for the purposes for which McLennan Ross uses that information. You have the right to request a correction of the personal information that we hold about you.
You may request access to the personal information that we have about you. The request must be in writing and directed to the law firm's privacy officer. We will charge a reasonable fee for retrieval and copying of your personal information. By law, we must deny you access when:
- your file contains personal information on a third party and the information cannot be severed to maintain the privacy of the third party information.
- 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 may also deny access when your information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings against you, including unpaid bills to the law firm.
McLennan Ross endeavours to keep Personal Information only as long as it is required for the reasons it was collected. The length of time varies, depending on the product or service and the nature of the information. This period may extend beyond the end of a person's relationship with us but it will be only for so long as it is necessary for us to have sufficient information to respond to any issues that may arise at a later date. When your Personal Information is no longer required for McLennan Ross's purposes, we will employ procedures to destroy, delete, erase or convert it into an anonymous form.
Currently, the principle places in which McLennan Ross holds Personal Information are in the cities where McLennan Ross has offices or where off-site storage facilities are located.
McLennan Ross endeavours to maintain adequate 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.
McLennan Ross further protects Personal Information by restricting access to it to those employees that the management of McLennan Ross have determined need to know that information in order for McLennan Ross to provide its services.
In terms of communicating Personal Information to McLennan Ross, you may wish to note that there is no method of transmitting or storing data that is completely secure. Mail, telephone calls, faxes and transmissions over the Internet are all susceptible to possible loss, misrouting, and interception. McLennan Ross attempts to strike a reasonable balance between security and convenience. In communicating with clients and others, McLennan Ross often uses methods of communication that are less secure than some of its less convenient alternatives. An example of this is e-mail. When we use e-mail, it may be sent as unencrypted plain text. This is done for our clients' convenience but has the security concern that, if misrouted or intercepted, it could be read more easily than encrypted e-mail.
McLennan Ross Web Site
McLennan Ross provides clients and others with general access to its web site. Our Web servers track general information about visitors such as their domain name and date of visit. McLennan Ross's Web servers also collect and aggregate information regarding which pages are being accessed as well as information volunteered by visitors through online surveys or subscriptions to electronic newsletters. This information is used internally, only in aggregate form, to better serve visitors by helping us to:
- manage our sites
- diagnose any technical problems
- improve the content of our Web site
Amendment of McLennan Ross Practices and This Policy
This statement is in effect as of January 1, 2004 and is subject to periodic revision. Any amendment will be posted on McLennan Ross's web site. Policy changes will apply to the information collected from the date of posting of the revised Policy Statement to McLennan Ross's web site as well as to existing information held by McLennan Ross.
In the event an individual has questions about access to Personal Information or the collection, use, management or disclosure of Personal Information that person should contact any of the following: the professional with whom he or she has had contact or the Firm's Chief Privacy Officer, Vicki Giles.