Dated October 12, 2018 for reference
At Chu & Huang Law Professional Corporation (“CHL”) our office recognizes the importance of protecting the privacy and confidentiality of our clients’ personal information received in the course of our legal practice.
In addition to our professional obligations under the Law Society of Ontario Rules of Professional Conduct to maintain the confidentiality of client information, we acknowledge our obligations concerning personal information that we collect, use or disclose in our law practice under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”). PIPEDA is legislation that regulates the way lawyers and law firms in Ontario deal with personal information.
Collection of Personal Information
To provide legal advice and represent our clients, CHL needs access to all relevant facts and information that relate to our retainer and to the representation of our clients. This information will necessarily include personal information about our clients and other individuals.
Personal information is any information that identifies you, or information that can be used to determine your identity. We collect personal information only by lawful and fair means. Where possible, we collect personal information directly from the person to whom it pertains. When necessary, we may collect personal information from other sources. By retaining CHL for legal advice or representation, you consent to our collection, use or disclosure of your personal information in order to properly advise and represent you.
In some cases, we will ask you to consent, either in writing or orally, if we collect, use, or disclose your personal information. In many cases, however, your consent will be implied through your conduct with us.
Use of Personal Information
CHL uses your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to administer our client (time and billing), and to include you in direct marketing activities. In compliance with Canadian anti-spam legislation, our electronic marketing materials include the option for you to opt out if you no longer wish to receive information about our services or about new developments in the law that may affect you. When you opt out we will not send you any further electronic information.
During the course of providing legal services to our clients, CHL obtains and uses personal information to:
- provide legal advice and services to you;
- comply with land registry system requirements to process residential and commercial real estate transactions including, but not limited to, purchases, sales, mortgage refinancing, and title transfers;
- satisfy lawful requirements relating to obtaining mortgage insurance and other types of insurance, if they are required as part of your real estate transaction;
- assist in confirming identity in order to sign documents for real estate and other legal transactions;
- to assess employment applications. We will retain information from candidates after a decision has been made, unless you ask us not to. If you accept a job with CHL, the information will be retained in accordance with the privacy procedures for employee records; and
- to conduct conflict checks required as part of our professional responsibilities as members of the Law Society of Ontario.
CHL does not use Social Insurance Numbers (S.I.N.s) to identify clients or organize client information.
CHL does not disclose your personal information to any third party to enable them to market their products and services.
Emailing CHL: We remind you that email is not a completely secure form of communication. Therefore, please do not send confidential, proprietary or sensitive personally identifiable information (e.g., S.I.N.; date of birth; driver’s license number; or credit card, bank account or other financial information) (collectively, “Sensitive Information”) by email. If you submit Sensitive Information by email, you do so at your own risk and CHL will not be liable to you or responsible for consequences of your submission.
When you visit our website, we may track information about your visit and store that information in web server logs (electronic records of the activities on our sites). Examples of the information we may collect include:
- your unique Internet protocol (IP) address;
- the name of your Internet service provider;
- the town/city, county/state and country from which you access our website;
- the kind of browser or computer you used to access our website;
- the number of links you click within our website;
- the date and time of your visit;
- the web page from which you arrived at our website;
- the pages you viewed on our website; and
- certain searches/queries that you conducted via our website(s).
The information we collect in web server logs helps us administer the site, analyze its usage, protect the website and its content from inappropriate use and improve the user’s experience.
Disclosure of your Personal Information
Under certain circumstances, CHL may need to disclose your personal information. Such circumstances may include:
- when we are required or authorized by law to do so, for example if a court issues a subpoena or disclosure is required under the rules of civil procedure where a transaction occurs;
- when you have consented to the disclosure;
- when the legal services we are providing to you require us give your information to third parties involved in a transaction you have authorized (for example a lender in a real estate mortgage transaction) your consent will be implied, unless you tell us otherwise;
- when the disclosure is requested by a third party who, in our reasonable judgment, is acting as your agent;
- where it is necessary to establish or collect fees;
- if we engage expert witnesses on your behalf;
- if we retain other law firms in other jurisdictions, on your behalf; or
- 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 your information changes, please inform us so that we can make any necessary changes.
Security of Personal Information
CHL 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 file access to personal information;
- technological safeguards such as security software and firewalls to prevent unauthorized computer access; and
- 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. Requests for more detailed information which require archive or other retrieval costs may be subject to our normal professional and disbursement fees.
If CHL holds information about you and you can establish that it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, CHL will take reasonable steps to correct it.
Can I be Denied Access to My 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 another person’s privacy;
- when to do so would prejudice negotiations with you;
- to protect our firm’s rights and property; or
- 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.
Can I 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 (Canada) requires us to confirm the identity of all new clients. It 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 a completely secure medium, and you should be aware of this when contacting us to send personal or confidential information.
Requests for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access or correct your personal information, please write to our Privacy Officer at:
Chu & Huang Law Professional Corporation
31 Elm Street
Toronto, ON M5G 1H1
Attention: Christopher C. Chu
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at:
112 Kent Street,