The Personal Information Protection Act (the Act) sets out the rules for how private organizations in Alberta collect, use and disclose your personal information. Personal Information means information about a specific person.
Our need for Personal Information
The lawyers at Pritchard & Company LLP need to collect all relevant facts and information about each client we represent in order to give each client legal advice and assist each client to make informed decisions. We may also need business and credit information to complete commercial transactions or to arrange for a client to pay for our professional services. Sometimes we also collect information from a client that includes personal information about other people who are involved in the legal matter with our client.
Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information
Where practical, we try to collect personal information directly from the person involved. Where necessary, we may collect personal information from other sources. We collect only the personal information we need to provide our professional services to each client. The Act sets out a person is deemed to consent to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information about that person for a particular purpose if the person voluntarily provides the information for that purpose, and it is reasonable a person would voluntarily provide that information. The lawyers at Pritchard & Company LLP consider a person has given consent to us collecting, using or disclosing that person’s personal information as necessary to property represent that person, when that person retains and engages our firm to provide legal advice. When we collect personal information about a person directly from that person, except when their consent to the collection is deemed, we will tell that person the purpose for which we are collecting the information and the name of a person in our office who can answer questions about the collection of this information. The Act also permits us to collect, use or disclose personal information about a person in some circumstances without that person’s consent. Such circumstances include:
- when the collection, use or disclosure is clearly in the interests of the person and consent cannot be obtained in a timely way;
- 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; or
- the collection, use, or disclosure is required or authorized by a statute or regulation of Alberta or Canada
When we collect, use or disclose personal information, we will make reasonable efforts to ensure 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. Our Code of Professional Conduct requires us to keep client files and personal information for a minimum of seven years.
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 obligation to protect the personal information we have gathered about our clients and about other individuals during the course of our representation of our clients. We have created systems for the collection, use and storage of information in our office to secure against the unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, copying, modification, disposal or destruction of personal information.
Requests for Access to Personal Information
The Act permits individuals to submit written requests to us to provide her or him with:
- her or his personal information under our custody or control;
- information about the purposes for which we are using or disclosing her or his personal information under our custody or control; or
- the names of persons to whom and the circumstances in which we are disclosing her or his personal information.
We will respond to written requests in the time allowed by the Act, will make reasonable effort to assist applicants and will 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 her or his 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 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 her or his identity.
The law further provides we may choose not 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 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 states 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.
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:
- either 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 and annotate the personal information that a correction was requested and not made.