The Personal Information Protection Act (Alberta) (the “Act”) regulates the way private sector organizations within Alberta collect, use and disclose personal information. This firm recognizes the importance of privacy and recognizes the sensitivity of personal information received by us in the course of our legal practice.
We recognize our professional obligation to maintain the confidentiality of our clients’ information, and also our obligations concerning all individuals’ personal information which we collect, use or disclose in our practice. This policy has been developed with those obligations in mind.
Our Need for Personal Information
To be able to give legal advice to our clients, we need to collect all relevant facts and information that relate to our retainer and to the representation of our clients. We may also need business and credit information so we can ensure that we will be compensated for our services. This information will necessarily include personal information about our clients and about individuals other than our clients.
Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information
Where practical, we will try to collect personal information directly from the person to whom the information pertains. Where necessary, we will collect personal information from other sources. We will collect only the personal information necessary for the purpose stated in the previous paragraph.
The Act provides that an individual is deemed to consent to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information about that individual for a particular purpose if the individual voluntarily provides the information for that purpose, and it is reasonable that a person would voluntarily provide that information.
By retaining this firm for legal advice or representation, we consider that an individual consents to our collection, use or disclosure of the individual’s personal information as necessary to properly advise and represent the individual.
It is our policy to collect personal information about individuals other than our clients in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
When we collect personal information about individuals directly from them, except when their consent to the collection is deemed, we will tell them the purpose for which the information is collected, and the name of a person who can answer questions about the collection.
The Act also permits us to collect, use or disclose personal information about an individual in some circumstances without the individual’s consent. Such as circumstances include (but are not limited) to where:
- the collection, use or disclosure is clearly in the interests of the individual and consent cannot be obtained in a timely way;
- collection, use, or disclosure is reasonable for the purpose of an investigation or proceeding;
- the personal information is available to the public from a prescribed source; or
- the collection, use, or disclosure is required or authorized by a statue or regulation of Alberta or Canada.
When we collect, use or disclose personal information, we will make reasonable efforts to ensure that it is accurate and complete. The Act also allows us, for legal or business purposes, to retain personal information for as long as is reasonable.
Security of Personal Information
We recognize our professional and legal obligations to protect the confidential information of our clients. We recognize as well our legal obligations to protect the personal information we have gathered about our clients and about other individuals during the course of our practice of law.
We have therefore made arrangements to secure against the unauthorized access, collection, use disclosure, copying, modification, disposal or destruction of personal information.
Requests for Access to Personal Information
The law permits individuals to submit written requests to us to provide them with:
- their personal information under our custody or control;
- information about the purposes for which their personal information under our custody or control has been and is being used by us; and
- the names of persons to whom and the circumstances in which their personal information has been and is being disclosed by us.
We will respond to requests in the time allowed by the Act and will make a reasonable effort to assist applicants and to respond as accurately and completely as reasonably possible. All requests may be subject to any fees and disbursements the law permits us to charge.
An individual’s ability to access his or her personal information under our control is not absolute. The law provides that we must not disclose personal information where:
- the disclosure could reasonably be expected to threaten the safety or physical or mental health of an individual other than the individual who made the requests;
- the disclosure would reveal personal information about another individual; or
- the disclosure would reveal the identity of an individual who has in confidence provided us with an opinion about another individual and the individual providing the opinion does not consent to the disclosure of his or her identity.
The law further provides that we may choose not to disclose personal information where:
- the personal information is protect by any legal privilege;
- the disclosure of the information would reveal confidential commercial information and it is not unreasonable to withhold that information;
- the personal information was collected by us for an investigation or legal proceeding;
- the disclosure of the personal information might result in similar information no longer being provided to us when it is reasonable that it would be provided;
- the personal information was collected or created by a mediator or arbitrator in the conduct of a mediation or arbitration for which he or she was appointed to act
- under an agreement,
- under an enactment, or
- by a court, or
- the personal information relates to or may be used in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
The Act indicates that it is not to be applied so as to affect any legal privilege. We will not disclose information that is privileged where the applicant is not the client in whom the privilege is vested.
Request for Correction of Personal Information
The law permits individuals to submit written requests to us to correct errors or omissions in their personal information that is in our custody or control. We will:
- correct the personal information and, if reasonable to do so, send correction notifications to any other organizations to whom we disclosed the incorrect information; or
- decide not to correct the personal information but annotate the personal information that a correction was requested but not made.
Contacting or Communicating with Us
If you have any questions with respect to our policies concerning the handling of your personal information, or if you wish to request access to, or correction of, your personal information under our care and control, please contact our Privacy Officer at:
Burstall Winger Zammit LLP
Suite 1600 Dome Tower, 333 7th Avenue S.W.
Calgary, Alberta T2P 2Z1
T (403) 264-1915
If you are dissatisfied with our handling of your personal information, we invite you to contact our Privacy Officer in writing, setting out the reasons for your concern. If you remain dissatisfied after our Privacy Officer has reviewed and responded to your concern, you may wish to contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner at:
410, 9925 – 109 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2J8
T (780) 422-6860
F (780) 422-5682