Wickwire Holm is committed to the protection of personal information and to inform you of our practices for the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. Our law firm meets or exceeds standards for privacy law and protection of personal information. We are true to our obligations to respect confidentiality and maintain privacy of personal information we hold.
As lawyers, we have obligations set out by the Rules of Professional Conduct that govern our membership in the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society. We also have professional obligations to maintain confidentiality over all information we receive within a lawyer-client relationship.
Federal legislation, notably the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), requires businesses, including law firms, to comply with statutory requirements in respect of commercial activity that are aimed at protecting personal information. The principles established by PIPEDA recognize the right of individuals to privacy and govern the use of personal information by businesses.
What is personal information?
Personal information is any information about an identifiable individual, but does not include the name, title, business address or telephone of an employee of an organization.
Why does Wickwire Holm collect personal information?
Wickwire Holm collects personal information so it can provide legal services to individuals. In addition, we distribute newsletters, publications, and offer presentations and seminars as a service to clients and others in the business community.
Collection of personal information
The personal information we collect depends on our relationship with you and the legal information and services you request. We limit the information we collect to what is reasonably necessary for the purpose identified for which consent was given. Whenever possible, we collect your personal information directly from you, or from persons you authorize to provide us with such information.
When necessary, information may also be collected from other sources such as government agencies, accountants, financial institutions, real estate agents, insurance companies, or other consultants obtained to assist with your legal matter.
At times, we may also collect personal information to allow us to make credit decisions about clients, prevent fraud, and to meet our professional and legal obligations to verify the identity of new clients and to prevent money-laundering. In these circumstances, we may collect information from credit bureaus or consumer reporting agencies.
How is information collected through Wickwire Holm’s website?
On our website, the only personal information Wickwire Holm collects is the information voluntarily supplied by you if you contact us by email or by submitting one of the forms contained on our website.
Technical information may be automatically recorded through our web server as related to your visit and use of our website. Such information may include: the internet domain for your internet service provider; the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the computer accessing the website; the date and time you visited the website; and a record of which pages you viewed. This information does not identify you personally and is anonymous. It is used for the purposes of diagnosing problems with and administering our website, internal marketing, and security purposes.
How does Wickwire Holm use personal information?
We collect and use personal information to provide legal services. This includes to determine if we can enter into a professional relationship with you, provide services in accordance your instructions, bill you for services, and provide you with information about legal developments and special events.
We also use personal information to fulfill our professional and legal obligations, and to follow up on your comments or suggestions. We only use personal information as permitted by law, including with your consent as appropriate.
Does Wickwire Holm disclose personal information?
Wickwire Holm will only disclose personal information for the legitimate purposes identified to you and for which consent was obtained, or if required or authorized by law. We may disclose your personal information to a third party: in accordance with your instructions and to provide services on your behalf; as required by our professional governing body and liability insurers; and for collecting fees owed to us for services rendered.
If we use the services of a third party to provide administrative services for our benefit, in which case we will use contractual or other means to protect the personal information provided to them.
We never sell, barter, trade, or give away your personal information to third parties unless we have your explicit consent to do so.
Is consent required for Wickwire Holm to collect and use personal information?
Where required by law, Wickwire Holm must obtain your consent before it collects, uses, or discloses your personal information. Your consent can be express and positive or implied depending on the circumstances.
Regarding consent, Wickwire Holm observes the following:
- Consent may be obtained expressly for stated purposes or impliedly when the purposes are indicated by the circumstances or result from expressly stated purposes;
- Reasonable efforts to obtain consent for all anticipated purposes will be made at the time personal information is collected;
- Additional consent must be obtained before personal information is used for a purpose other than that for which express or implied consent was initially obtained; and
- Consent may be withdrawn or amended, subject to any contractual, legal, or other limitations, by contacting our Privacy Officer.
PIPEDA provides exceptions to the requirement to obtain consent in certain circumstances. The following are examples of situations where consent is not required:
- When collection and use is clearly in an individual’s interests and consent cannot be obtained in a timely way;
- In emergencies;
- Where consent would compromise investigating a breach of law;
- To collect a debt;
- To comply with a court order; and
- In other circumstances permitted or required by law.
What safeguards does Wickwire Holm have in place to protect personal information?
Wickwire Holm will take appropriate measures to protect against loss, theft, unauthorized access, disclosure, use, or modification of personal information under our control. As necessary, safeguards will involve physical, electronic, and organizational means. Any personal information we collect will be retained as long as necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected.
The measures used depend on the sensitivity, volume, format, nature, and storage medium of the personal information. Our measures include restricted access to our premises, limited access to areas where personal information is stored, employee training and compliance measures including policies on restricted access and confidentiality, and technological safeguards including firewalls, passwords, and computer use policies.
We take all reasonable measures to comply with expectations for privacy and confidentiality. However, no communication transmitted over the internet is fully secure. We cannot guarantee the security or confidentiality of information you transmit to us through electronic means.
What rights do individuals have regarding their personal information?
Subject to legal obligations and restrictions, including client-lawyer privilege, an individual whose personal information is under Wickwire Holm’s control has the right, upon request, to be informed of the existence, use, and disclosure of their personal information and shall be given access to that information.
Wickwire Holm uses your personal information to provide services to you, making it important to keep this information accurate and up-to-date. You have the right to contact us to update or correct the accuracy and completeness of your personal information.
How to contact Wickwire Holm
Suite 300, PO Box 1054
1801 Hollis Street
Halifax, NS, Canada B3J2X6
Phone: (902) 429-4111
Fax: (902) 429-8215