We take the protection of Personal Information seriously. Our obligations as legal professionals are governed, in part, by the Rules of Professional Conduct which impose strict duties and obligations regarding the confidentiality of the information provided to us by our clients. 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. We observe these requirements strictly.
As a general rule, all information concerning the business and affairs of a person or organization acquired (1) for the purpose of determining whether we will enter into a professional relationship or (2) in the course of a professional relationship shall be held in strict confidence and not revealed to anyone unless expressly or implicitly authorized by the person or organization concerned. A professional relationship develops when Sharma Lawyers agree to be retained to provide services to an individual or organization. To protect their own interests, individuals or organizations should not send confidential information to us until they have had a direct discussion with a professional at the firm regarding the retention of Sharma Lawyers to provide legal services.
In the course of its relationship with you, we will need to collect, use and sometimes, disclose various types of Personal Information for various purposes associated with the scope of the work as directed by you or your organization. Given the nature of our services, it is impractical to list all of types of Personal Information that may be collected, used or disclosed. When Personal Information is requested from you, we will always explain the purpose for which it is needed. Under no circumstances will we sell, trade, barter or exchange for consideration any Personal Information it has obtained. You may be assured that Sharma Lawyers will only collect Personal Information that is necessary for the following purposes:
- Establishing your identity and Compliance with “Know Your Client” regulations: which may require you to provide name, address, employment/business information, legally mandated forms of identification.
- Billing: which will include the collection of names, addresses, banking and/or financial details.
- Provision of Services/Products: which will include any Personal Information necessary to provide services requested by you or your organization. We may also analyze the Personal Information provided to us to offer you additional services or products. You may, at any time, advise us that you do not wish to receive such information from us.
We may collect your Personal Information in many forms (hard/soft copy, electronically, facsimile, telephone conversations/recordings, etc.), but will only do so by lawful means and only for necessary purposes that have been disclosed to you.
We may provide clients and others with general access to public web sites and restricted access to extranets. Our Web servers and authorized third party providers track general information about visitors such as their domain name, IP address and time of visit. Sharma Lawyers’ Web servers also collect and aggregate information regarding which pages are being accessed as well as information volunteered by visitors through online surveys or subscriptions to electronic newsletters. This information is used internally, only in aggregate form, to better serve visitors by helping us to:
- Manage our sites
- Diagnose any technical problems
- Improve the content of our Web site
Personal Information collected in any form will only be retained by us so long as it is required: a) for the purpose for which it was collected; b) to be retained by law; c) to address any issues that may arise at a later date. When your Personal Information is no longer required for these identified purposes, we use secure procedures to destroy, delete, erase or convert the Personal Information into an anonymous form.
Consent may be given in different ways such as: a) expressly by signing a document, agreeing through electronic means or verbally; or b) impliedly by providing the Personal Information voluntarily.
There may be circumstances where you have provided Personal Information for an identified purpose, and we later need to use that information for a different purpose. In such circumstances, we will seek your consent to use the information for the new purpose.
Please note that there are circumstances where the use and/or disclosure of Personal Information may be justified or permitted or where we must disclose information without consent. Such circumstances may include:
- Where required by law or by order or requirement of a court, administrative agency or other governmental tribunal;
- Where we believe, upon reasonable grounds, that it is necessary to protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of an identifiable person or group;
- Where it is necessary to establish or collect monies owing to us;
- Where it is necessary to permit us to pursue available remedies or limit any damages that we may sustain; or
- Where the information is public.
- Where obliged or permitted to disclose information without consent, we will not disclose more information than is required.
You have the right to revoke your consent to the collection, use and disclosure of your Personal Information at any time. However, revocation of your consent may result in our inability to provide services to you. We will discuss with you the reason we need your Personal Information and why the revocation of your consent affects our ability to provide the service or product to you.
We allow certain authorized third party providers to track and store certain information about visitors to our web site (namely domain name, IP addresse and page views as described below) and such information will be stored outside of Canada if the third party provider is located outside of Canada. Personal Information is always subject to the local laws of the jurisdictions within which it is collected, used, disclosed and/or stored, and may be accessed by governmental authorities in those jurisdictions.
Personal Information may also be subject to transfer to another organization in the event of a merger, change of ownership, obtaining insurance or financing. This will occur only if the parties have entered into an agreement under which the collection, use and disclosure of the information is restricted to those purposes that relate to the business transaction, including a determination whether or not to proceed with the business transaction, and is used by the parties to carry out and complete the business transaction.
We have taken steps to maintain adequate physical, procedural and technical security regarding its offices and information storage facilities to prevent any loss, misuse, unauthorized access, disclosure, or modification of Personal Information (“Data Breach”). We further protect Personal Information by restricting access to those individuals that we have determined need to know that information in order that we may provide our services.
No method of transmitting or storing data is perfectly secure. While the physical characteristics mail, telephone calls, faxes and transmissions over the Internet are different, each is susceptible to possible loss, misrouting, interception and misuse of the information being communicated or transmitted. In the unfortunate event of a Data Breach, we have procedures in place to contain the loss to the greatest extent possible and will comply with applicable breach notification requirements.
We attempt to strike a reasonable balance between security and convenience. In communicating with clients and others, we may request the use of a communication method that is less secure than more inconvenient alternatives. For example, email may be sent as unencrypted plain text because some of our clients and others cannot readily process encrypted e-mail. This is done for their convenience, but we expect that our clients and others understand that if misrouted or intercepted, unencrypted email could be read more easily than encrypted e-mail.
Sharma Lawyers endeavour to ensure that any Personal Information provided and in its possession is as accurate, current and complete as necessary for the purposes for which we use that information. In the event that you believe that your Personal Information is not accurate or you wish access to your Personal Information, you may make a request to the Privacy Officer.
We will always endeavor to provide timely access to your Personal Information. However, there may be circumstances where access will not be granted. For example, where access would lead to the disclosure of Personal Information of another individual and that individual refuses to provide consent to disclose or information subject to privilege or other legal restrictions. You will be notified in all cases of the reason for the denial of access.