Your Privacy Rights
From January 1, 2004, all businesses engaged in commercial activities must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, and the Canadian Standards Association Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information, which it incorporates. These obligations extend to lawyers and law firms, including Macdonald Sager. The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information. Macdonald Sager is responsible for the personal information we collect and hold. To ensure this accountability, we have developed this policy, and trained our lawyers and support staff about our policies and practices.
Macdonald Sager is responsible under applicable privacy legislation for the Personal Information in our possession or control, and is governed, in part, by the Law Society of Ontario’s Rules of Professional Conduct, which impose strict duties and obligations on law firms regarding the confidentiality of client information. These obligations apply to all professionals, employees, contractors and agents who provide services in connection with our delivery of legal and other services to our clients. Macdonald Sager observes these requirements strictly.
Purposes of Collection Use and Disclosure of Personal Information
Macdonald Sager’s professionals (including lawyers, law clerks, articling students and students-at-law) and their support staff, as well as our management and administrative staff, collect, use and disclose Personal Information for purposes authorized or required by applicable Canadian federal and Ontario privacy legislation and, specifically, for the following purposes:
- to provide our legal services and advice and to facilitate the provision of anticipated future legal services and advice;
- to establish, maintain and enhance our client and supplier relationships, including providing legal updates which we believe to be of relevance to our clients and sending holiday cards, professional development or other event invitations, alumni newsletters and other greetings from the firm;
- to fulfill our obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Law Society of Ontario and to avoid conflicts of interest;
- to carry out our client identification and verification obligations mandated by the Law Society of Ontario;
- to satisfy our records retention requirements as mandated by the Law Society of Ontario and our insurers;
- to share information with third parties for the purpose of providing our legal services and advice, including data and information technology service providers, registry agents, cloud-based service providers, agents in other jurisdictions retained on our clients’ behalf, other suppliers of products and services ancillary to the provision of our legal services and, in the case of litigation, opposing counsel, foreign counsel, witnesses and experts;
- to manage and develop our business, operations and strategic planning;
- to detect and protect Macdonald Sager, our clients, you and others from error, negligence, fraud or other illegal activity, which may include providing Personal Information to insurers, auditors, investigators or regulatory authorities;
- to issue invoices, process payments and collect debts owed to us; and
- to comply with other legal and regulatory requirements.
The above collections, uses and disclosures are a necessary part of our relationship with our clients and our third-party service providers and suppliers.
What personal information do we collect?
Personal information is any information that identifies you, or by which your identity could be deduced. If we did not collect and use your personal information, we could not provide you with legal services.
How do we collect your personal information?
We collect information only by lawful and fair means, and not in an unreasonably intrusive way. Wherever possible we collect your personal information directly from you, both at the start of a retainer and in the course of our representation.
Sometimes we may obtain information about you from other sources, for example:
- your insurance company;
- your real estate agent in a property transaction;
- from a government agency or registry;
- your employer, if we are acting for you, at its request;
- your accountant.
We may collect the following types of Personal Information about you:
- your contact information, such as your name, your residential address, telephone number, fax number and email address; and
- any Personal Information that is included in your comments, questions and inquiries.
In addition, our clients implicitly consent to the collection of information about them that is useful for the purpose of our retainer.
- Log Files: Log files make a record of each visit to the Site and log a number of details, including: your operating system; the date, time and duration of the visit; the pages and documents accessed; and the previous site accessed by you (such as, the search engine that referred you to the Site). Such information is collected for aggregated statistical purposes only, such as to track the number of visits to the Site, the number of views to particular pages, time-based traffic patterns, and the proportion of visitors using certain devices. Macdonald Sager will not attempt to identify users according to their browsing activity through such records.
- Device Identifiers: A device identifier, such as an IP address, is a distinctive number associated with a device. We may use your device identifier to identify you when you visit the Site to determine repeat visitors and detect and prevent fraudulent activity. By using device identifiers to approximate geographic location (to a city level), we can determine your approximate time zone, and better understand the locations of users.
- Web Beacons: We may use web beacons, also known as pixel tags, clear GIFs or other similar technologies in connection with some of the Site pages and HTML-formatted email messages. This allows us to track the actions of users and email recipients, and compile statistics about our Site and email response rates. These technologies usually work in conjunction with cookies. If you do not want your cookie information to be associated with your visits to these pages, you can disable or block cookies as noted above. If you turn off cookies, web beacons (or similar technologies) will still detect visits to these pages, but the notices they generate cannot be associated with other cookie information and are disregarded.
- Analytics: We use Google Analytics to provide statistics about the visitors to the Site. Google Analytics tracks and analyzes non-personally identifiable statistical information, including, without limitation, search engines, display advertising, pay-per-click networks, email marketing and digital collateral such as links within PDF documents. For more information about Google Analytics, including instructions on how to control the information collected by Google, see: https://policies.google.com/technologies/partner-sites.
On an aggregate basis and in a non-personally identifiable form, Technical Information is used for the following purposes: (a) for Site and system administration purposes; (b) to improve the Site; (c) to conduct internal reviews of the number of visitors to the Site; (d) to help us better understand visitors’ use of our Site; (e) to respond to specific requests from our visitors; and (f) to protect the security or integrity of our Site when necessary.
Links to Other Websites
In most cases, we shall ask you to specifically consent, if we collect, use, or disclose your personal information. Normally, we ask for your consent in writing, but in some circumstances, we may accept your oral consent. Sometimes, your consent may be implied through your conduct with us.
Disclosure of your Personal Information
Under certain circumstances, Macdonald Sager will disclose your personal information:
- when we are required or authorized by law to do so, for example if a court issues a subpoena;
- when you have consented to the disclosure;
- when the legal services we are providing to you requires us give your information to third parties (for example a lender in a real estate mortgage transaction) your consent will be implied, unless you tell us otherwise;
- where it is necessary to establish or collect fees;
- if we engage expert witnesses on your behalf;
- if we retain other law firms at your request, and on your behalf;
- if the information is Publicly Available Personal Information, as it is defined under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
Is My Personal Information Secure?
Macdonald Sager takes all reasonable precautions to ensure that your personal information is kept safe from loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. Among the steps taken to protect your information are:
- premises security;
- restricted file access to personal information;
- deploying technological safeguards like security software and firewalls to prevent hacking or unauthorized computer access;
- internal password and security policies.
Access to Your Personal Information
You may ask for access to any personal information we hold about you. Summary information is available on request. More detailed requests which require archive or other retrieval costs may be subject to our normal professional and disbursement fees.
Accuracy and Correction of Personal Information
We take reasonable efforts to ensure that the Personal Information we collect, use or disclose is accurate and complete. In most cases, we rely on you and/or our client to ensure that the Personal Information provided to us is current, complete and
If you demonstrate to us the inaccuracy or incompleteness of your Personal Information, we will amend the Personal Information as required. If appropriate under the circumstances, we will send the amended Personal Information to third parties to whom the Personal Information had previously been disclosed. If a request to correct the accuracy of Personal Information is not resolved to your satisfaction, we will annotate the Personal Information under our control with a note that the correction was requested but not made.
Can I be denied access to my Personal Information?
Your rights to access your personal information are not absolute. We may deny access when:
- it is required or authorized by law (for example, when a record containing personal information about you is protected by solicitor-client privilege);
- to do so would reveal confidential commercial information, and the personal information cannot be severed from the record;
- to do so could reasonably be expected to threaten the life or security of another individual, and the personal information cannot be severed from the record; or
- the information was generated in the course of a formal dispute resolution process. If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, we shall explain why. Macdonald Sager does not use your Social Insurance Number as a way of identifying or organizing the information we hold upon you.
Can I request anonymity?
Whenever it is legal and practicable, we may offer the opportunity to deal with general inquiries without providing your name (for example, by accessing general information on our website). The Act requires us to confirm the identity of all new clients. It may also require us disclose information to FINTRAC in relation to certain large cash transactions.
To help us make credit decisions about clients, prevent fraud, check the identity of new clients and prevent money-laundering, we may – with your consent – request information about you from the files of consumer reporting agencies.
Communicating with Us
You should be aware that e-mail is not a 100% secure medium, and you should be aware of this when contacting us to send personal or confidential information.
Macdonald Sager LLP
150 York Street, Suite 800
Toronto, ON M5H 3S5