The Personal Information Protection Act of Alberta ("the Acf") regulates the way Alberta businesses collect, use, and disclose personal information. "Personal Information" means information about you as an identifiable individual. Walsh LLP recognizes the importance of privacy and recognizes the sensitivity of personal information received by us in the course of our legal practice.
This policy has been developed to carry out our responsibilities in relation to the collection, maintenance, use, and transmission of personal information.
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 (or engagement agreement) 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 purposes stated the previous paragraph.
The Act provides that an individual is deemed to consent to the collection, use or disclosure of the 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 Walsh LLP 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.
When we collect personal information about individuals directly from them, except when their consent to the collection is deemed to be granted, 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 without their consent. Such 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;
- the collection, use, or disclosure is reasonable for the purposes of an investigation or proceeding;
- the personal information is available to the public from a prescribed source; and/or,
- the collection, use, or disclosure is required or authorized by a statute or regulation (law) 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.
The Act does not affect our ability to access and use information available by law in a legal proceeding. When personal information is acquired subject to legal procedure, the use or disclosure of that information is not governed by the Act.
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. Our office has implemented procedures to prevent 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 used, 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 request;
- the disclosure would reveal personal information about another individual; or,
- the disclosure would reveal the identity of an individual providing the opinion who does not consent to the disclosure of his or her identity.
The Act allows us to refuse to disclose personal information where:
- the personal information is protected 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; or,
- the personal information relates to or may be used in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
Solicitor-Client Privilege Preserved and Protected
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 if the person requesting the information is not the client to whom the privilege belongs.
Requests for Correction of Personal Information
The law permits individuals to submit written requests to us to correct errors or omissions in their personal information 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.
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:
2800, 801 - 6 Avenue S.W.
Calgary, AB T2P 4A3
Attention: Gary Befus
Direct line: (403) 267-8474.
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:
500, 640 - 5th Avenue SW,
Calgary, AB T2P 3G4
Phone: (403) 297-2728
Fax: (403) 297-2711
Toll Free: 1-888-878-4044