Your Privacy Rights
From January 1, 2004, all businesses engaged in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Canadian Standards Association Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information that it incorporates. These obligations extend to lawyers and law firms, including Sotos LLP. The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
Sotos LLP is responsible for the personal information we collect and hold. To ensure this accountability, we have developed this policy and trained our lawyers and support staff about our policies and practices.
Why Does Sotos LLP Need Personal Information?
Sotos LLP provides legal services and products to a wide range of clients. In doing so, it produces direct marketing materials concerning its services and developments in the law. The personal information provided to us will also assist Sotos LLP in providing you legal services and products for which you retained us. If we did not collect and use your personal information we could not provide you with legal services.
What personal information do we collect?
Personal information is any information that identifies you, or from which your identity could be deduced.
How do we collect your personal information?
We collect information only by lawful and fair means and not in an unreasonably intrusive way. Wherever possible we collect your personal information directly from you, at the start of a retainer and in the course of our representation. Sometimes we may obtain information about you from other sources, for example:
• Your insurance company;
• Your real estate agent in a property transaction;
• A government agency or registry;
• Your employer, if we are acting for you, at its request;
• Your accountant.
Use of Your Information
We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, for administrative purposes (e.g. billing databases) and to include you in any direct marketing activities. If you tell us that you no longer wish to receive information about our services or about new developments in the law, we will not send any further material.
Sotos LLP does not disclose your personal information to any third parties to enable them to market their products and services. For example, we do not and will never provide our client mailing lists to other law firms or organizations.
Disclosure of your Personal Information
Sotos LLP may disclose your personal information under the following circumstances:
• When we are required or authorized by law to do so, for example under a court order or summons;
• When you have consented to the disclosure;
• When the very nature of the legal services we are providing to you requires us to give your information to third parties (for example a lender in a real estate mortgage transaction), unless you tell us otherwise;
• Where it is necessary to collect outstanding fees;
• If we engage a third party to provide administrative services to us (like computer back-up services or archival file storage) and the third party is bound by a similar policy;
• If we engage expert witnesses or other consultants on your behalf;
• If we retain other law firms on your behalf;
• If the information is already publicly known;
• As part of a reference check if you apply for a position with our firm.
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 your information changes, please inform us so that we can make any necessary changes.
Is Your Personal Information Secure?
Sotos 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 personal information are:
• Premises security;
• Restricted file access to personal information;
• Deploying technological safeguards like security software and firewalls to prevent hacking or unauthorized computer access;
• Internal password and security policies;
• Access to Your Personal Information;
• You may ask for access to any personal information we hold about you.
Summary information is available on request. More detailed requests that require archive or other retrieval costs may be subject to our normal professional and disbursement fees.
If Sotos LLP holds information about you and you can establish that it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, Sotos LLP will take reasonable steps to correct it.
Can You Be Denied Access to Your Personal Information?
Your rights to access your personal information are not absolute. We may deny access when:
• 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;
• When granting you access would have an unreasonable impact on other people’s privacy;
• When to do so would prejudice negotiations with you;
• To protect our firm’s rights and property;
• Where the request is frivolous or vexatious.
If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, we shall explain why. Sotos LLP does not use your Social Insurance Number as a way of identifying or organizing the information we hold about you.
Can You Request Anonymity?
Whenever it is legal and practicable, we may offer the opportunity to deal with general inquiries without providing your name (for example, by accessing general information on our website). The Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and the Law Society of Ontario require us to confirm the identity of all new clients. The Act may also require us disclose information to FINTRAC in relation to certain large cash transactions.
To help us make credit decisions about clients, prevent fraud, check the identity of new clients and prevent money-laundering, we may, on occasion, request information about you from the files of consumer reporting agencies.
Communicating with Us
You should be aware that e-mail is not an entirely secure medium. You should be aware of this when using email to send or receive personal or confidential information.
Requests for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please write to our Privacy Contact at:
180 Dundas Street West, Suite 1250
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Z8
Attention: David Sterns
Phone: 416.977.5333 ext. 313
Fax : 416.977.0717
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at:
112 Kent Street
If you apply to Sotos LLP for a position, we need to consider your personal information as part of our review process. We may also be required to reveal some personal information as part of a reference check. We normally retain information from candidates after a decision has been made, unless you ask us not to retain the information. If we offer you a job, which you accept, the information will be retained in accordance with our privacy procedures for employee records.