Our privacy policies and procedures only apply to personal information about identifiable individuals. They do not apply to business information. Personal information does not include the name, title, business address or telephone number of an employee of an organization. In the context of this policy, the term “clients” includes all current, former and prospective clients.
Why Do We Collect Personal Information?
Generally, we collect personal information in order to provide legal or other related services to our clients, to administer client accounts, to establish and manage client relationships and other commercial relationships, and to comply with regulatory requirements. As well, we collect personal information to provide our clients with newsletters and to hold seminars concerning our activities and developments in the law. We also collect personal information to evaluate client satisfaction.
What Personal Information Do We Collect?Personal information that we collect includes:
- contact information
- financial information
- information relating to a client’s legal issues
- information about others collected in the course of representing a client, such as a client’s employees, other parties to a transaction or lawsuit, or witnesses
- information regarding visitors to our offices
- information that you have consented to us collecting, or information that we are otherwise permitted by law to collect.
How Do We Collect Your Personal Information?
We collect your personal information only by lawful and fair means and only with your consent or as required or permitted by law. Whenever possible and appropriate, we collect your personal information from you directly or from persons whom you have requested to provide us with information. Sometimes we may collect information about you from other sources such as financial institutions, insurance companies, real estate agents in a property transaction, witnesses in litigation matters, other parties involved in your transaction or file, government agencies or registries, employers (if we are acting for you at your employer’s request), accountants or other professional advisors, and credit bureaus.
How Do We Use Your Information?We may use your personal information for the following purposes:
- to provide legal and related services
- to conduct conflict searches, in order to determine if we can represent you
- to assess client eligibility for credit
- to administer client accounts
- to fulfill our legal and professional obligations, including client identification and verification rules and other requirements of applicable provincial law societies
- to manage our business, including fulfilling contractual obligations and auditing our operations
- to detect and prevent negligence, fraud and theft
- to evaluate client satisfaction
- to provide you with information about our services and about developments in the law
- to invite you to our functions and to communicate with you generally
- for security and emergency purposes (for visitors to our offices)
Disclosure of Your Personal InformationSubject to our professional obligations of confidentiality, Helsons will only disclose your personal information for purposes related to its providing services to you, or with your express consent, or if required or authorized by law. For example, we may disclose your information:
- when disclosure to third parties assists us in providing you the legal services that you have requested, including engaging expert witnesses, retaining other law firms
- at your request and providing information to lenders in real estate mortgage transactions
- when necessary to collect outstanding accounts or to assess eligibility for credit
- when necessary to comply with court orders, regulatory rules (including the rules of applicable provincial law societies) or to satisfy our insurance requirements
- when we reasonably believe that a third party requesting your personal information is your agent.
In addition, we may disclose your personal information to third parties if we merge or reorganize. We may disclose your personal information before and after a transaction. However, if the transaction is completed, we will require the third party to provide a comparable level of protection for your personal information. If the transaction is not completed, we will require the third party to destroy securely, or to return to us, any records containing your personal information.
We will seek your consent as required by law before using personal information for any purpose beyond the scope of your original consent. You may withdraw your consent at any time, subject to legal and contractual restrictions and reasonable notice. Please note, however, that withdrawing consent may affect our ability to serve you and maintain our relationship.
For example, if you no longer wish to receive our publications or receive information about our services, including by email, please send an e-mail message to: Helsons.unsubscribe@Helsons.ca with the subject line “unsubscribe”, or contact us in any of the ways listed below under “Questions or Concerns”, or alternatively contact your regular Helsons lawyer.
Since we may use your information to provide legal services to you, it is important that the information be accurate and up to date. Please inform us if any of your information changes so that we can make any necessary changes.
Security of Your Personal Information
We have policies and procedures in place to protect your personal information from loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. In addition, we operate out of secure premises and have implemented technological safeguards including security software, passwords and firewalls to prevent unauthorized computer access.
Please note that no method of transmitting or storing information is completely secure. While we take appropriate measures to protect your personal information, there is always a risk that it may be lost, intercepted or misused. We may exchange electronic versions of documents and e-mails with you using commercially available software that is vulnerable to attack by viruses and other destructive electronic programs. We cannot guarantee that all communications and documents sent via e-mail will always be received, or that such communications and documents will always be virus free. We make no warranty with respect to the integrity of any electronic communications between us and you or with respect to the security of any such communication and you consent to our exchange of electronic communications, including confidential documents, unencrypted.
Storage of Your Personal Information
Your personal information is stored at secure locations and on servers controlled by Helsons at our offices in Georgetown and Acton. It may also be stored at the offices of our service providers.
Information Transferred to Service Providers
When we transfer your personal information to a third party to provide administrative and other services, we use appropriate measures to ensure that the third party will only use your personal information to perform the services we have specified. The global nature of our business sometimes requires us to use administrative service providers who may be located in the United States or elsewhere outside of Canada. Accordingly, your personal information may be transferred outside of Canada and if so, will be subject to the legal requirements of the applicable foreign jurisdictions, including local requirements to disclose information to courts, law enforcement and national security authorities. If you wish to obtain more information about our policies and procedures relating to our transferring and processing information outside of Canada, please contact our Privacy Officer in any of the ways described below under “Questions or Concerns”.
Access to Your Personal Information
You may ask for access to any information that we hold about you. You also may ask how we collected the information, how we are using it, and to whom we have disclosed it. Your request for access must be in writing, and should be sent to your regular Helsons lawyer or to our Privacy Officer. We will acknowledge your request in writing. We may request that you provide us with information to allow us to confirm your identity before providing you with the information that you have requested. Access will generally be provided free of charge; however, if you request that information be copied or transmitted, we may charge a reasonable fee. We will notify you of the amount of the charge in advance, and provide you with an opportunity to withdraw your request. We will provide you with access to your information within 30 days of our receipt of your request, or provide written notice that additional time is required to comply with your request.
In certain circumstances we may be unable to provide access to some or all of the information that we hold about you. If we are unable or not permitted by law to provide you with access, we will provide you with an explanation and indicate further steps which are available to you.
Additional terms applicable to data subjects in the European Union
Helsons collects personal data about you. Helsons as data controller processes your personal data in compliance with the requirements of the GDPR, as amended from time to time.
Legal bases upon which we process your Personal DataWe only process your personal data:
- with your consent;
- for performing the services you have requested from us or, upon your request, to take the steps necessary to provide you with such services; or
- in the furtherance of our legitimate interests in maintaining business relationships and communicating with you as a business contact, about Helsons’s activities and services.
We consider that our legitimate interests are in compliance with the GDPR and your legal rights and freedoms. You have the right to object to any of this processing and, if you want to, please contact our Privacy Officer at the contact details indicated below.
Retention of your personal information
Additional data subject rights
In addition to the rights described above under “Access to Your Personal Information”, you may in some cases ask us to delete your personal data. You can also object to certain personal data about you being processed and request that processing of your personal data be limited. Please note that the limitation or deletion of your personal data may mean we will be unable to provide the services described above. You also have the right to receive your personal data in a machine-readable format and have the data transferred to another party responsible for data processing. If you disagree with how we process your Personal Data, you are also entitled to report this to the competent supervisory authorities in the European Union.
Questions or Concerns
If you have any questions or concerns or wish to obtain further information about our personal information policies and procedures, or if you wish to access your personal information or change any consent regarding our use or disclosure of your personal information, please contact our Privacy Officer at the address set out below, or your regular Helsons lawyer. We will treat all privacy concerns seriously. We will investigate any concern and seek to resolve it within a reasonable time.