SWANSON LAW
PRIVACY POLICY
[Services provided by James T. Swanson Professional Corporation]
("Swanson Law" or "we", "us", "our", etc.)

Effective date: January 1, 2019

Swanson Law is committed to maintaining the privacy of individuals and protecting personal information in its custody or control in accordance with privacy legislation applicable to Swanson Law. This Policy describes and summarizes the practices of Swanson Law with respect to  our collection, use or disclosure of personal Information, and describes the obligations and practices of Swanson Law under the Personal Information Protection Act (Alberta) ("PIPA") and, if and as applicable, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (Canada, "PIPEDA").


Definitions


In this Policy, the following terms have the meanings below:
 

  • Personal information means information about an identifiable individual, which does not include information of an aggregate or anonymous nature where a specific individual or individuals cannot be identified. Personal Information also does not include business contact information, as long as business contact information is used to contact an individual in their capacity as an employee or official of an organization, and for no other purpose.

  • Business contact information means an individual's name and position or title as an official or employee of an organization, as well as their business telephone number, business address, business e-mail, business fax number and other business contact information.

  • Privacy and our website

Our policies with respect to our website are as posted on our website, and may be revised from time to time.
Sources of Personal Information
Swanson Law generally collects, uses and discloses personal information about the following types of individuals:

  • Clients of Swanson Law;

  • Employees and independent contractors (where such contractors are individuals) of Swanson Law for the purposes of establishing, managing and terminating employment and contractor relationships; and

  • Other individuals who may voluntarily choose to provide Swanson Law with personal information.


Notification and consent
 

  • Subject to this Policy and applicable legislation, Swanson Law will identify the purposes for collection, use and disclosure in advance of collection, and will notify the individual of the purposes for collection, use or disclosure at or before the time of collection.

  • Swanson Law will generally obtain consent from the individual at or before the time of collection of personal information.  However, there are a number of exceptions in that in some circumstances, such as with employee personal information, Swanson Law does not require consent to collect, use or disclose personal information with respect to employees, but may be required to provide notification in advance.

  • In other circumstances, specifically those set out in applicable legislation, the law does not require that Swanson Law obtain consent or provide notification.  Swanson Law reserves all its rights to rely on all available statutory exemptions and exceptions.


Exceptions to the requirement for consent

Swanson Law may collect, use or disclose personal information without consent in circumstances that include but are not limited to the following:

 

  • Where the personal information is personal employee information, and Swanson Law has given required notifications.

  • Where a reasonable person would consider that the collection, use or disclosure of the information is clearly in the interests of the individual and consent of the individual cannot be obtained in a timely way or the individual would not reasonably be expected to withhold consent;

  • Where the collection, use or disclosure of the information is pursuant to a statute or regulation of either Alberta or Canada that authorizes or requires the collection;

  • Where the collection of the information is from a public body and that public body is authorized or required by an enactment of Alberta or Canada to disclose the personal information to Swanson Law, and Swanson Law uses or discloses it as permitted or required by law;

  • Where the collection, use or disclosure of the information is reasonable for the purposes of an investigation or a legal proceeding, which may include breaches of our policies or illegal activities of third parties that may affect or involve our business;

  • Where the information is publicly available;

  • Where the collection, use or disclosure of the information is necessary in order to collect a debt owed to Swanson Law or for Swanson Law to repay to an individual money owed by Swanson Law.

  •  In certain circumstances, where the information may be disclosed without consent, it may also be used without consent.


In addition to the above, the law generally provides that an individual is deemed to consent to the collection, use or disclosure of 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.   If you provide personal information to us voluntarily, we will rely on deemed consent and consider that you consent to our collection, use or disclosure of your personal information as necessary to carry out the purposes for which you provided the information.
Where a new purpose for the use or disclosure of personal information previously collected arises, Swanson Law will contact the individual in question to obtain any required consent or to provide any required notification for use and/or disclosure for such new purpose or purposes.

Where practical, Swanson Law will try to collect personal information directly from you. Where necessary, Swanson Law will collect personal information from other sources.  When Swanson Law collects personal information about individuals directly from them, except when their consent to the collection is deemed or has otherwise been previously and lawfully obtained, or is not required, we will tell the individuals the purposes for which the information is collected, and the name of a person who can answer questions about the collection.


Why we collect, use and disclose personal information

Swanson Law generally collects, uses and discloses personal information for the purposes including the following:

 

  • Clients: To establish, maintain, manage and terminate relationships with clients, to communicate with clients for reasons related to our business and our services, to respond to inquiries, to provide clients with information with their consent, and to process payments and deliver products or services

  • Employees: To establish, maintain, manage and terminate employment or contractor relationships.

  • Other individuals: Personal information from other individuals may be collected when such individuals contact Swanson Law for a variety of reasons personal to them, and then used and disclosed as required to respond.   For example, if you contact us with an inquiry, we will use the information you provide to assist us in responding to you and communicating with you.

  • To carry out lawful investigations and to fulfill our legal obligations.

Retention and destruction of personal information


Alberta law allows us, for legal or business purposes, to retain personal information for as long as is reasonable.  Upon expiry of an appropriate retention period, bearing in mind reasonable legal and business requirements, personal information will either be destroyed in a secure manner or made anonymous.
Should consent to our collection, use, disclosure or retention of personal information be revoked by the individual in question, the law also allows us to continue to retain the information for as long as is reasonable for legal or business purposes. In the event that revocation of consent may have consequences to the individual concerned, we will advise the individual of the consequences of revoking their consent where it is reasonable in the circumstances to do so.
When we collect, use or disclose personal information, we will make reasonable efforts to ensure that it is accurate, up to date, and complete.

 

Legal Holds


There are situations where records scheduled for destruction must be preserved and not destroyed. In those cases, Swanson Law may implement and enforce a "legal hold". Those situations include audits, investigations, government or regulatory action and actual or potential civil litigation.  In addition, where an individual has requested access to their personal information, it is illegal to destroy that information.  It is therefore our policy to retain all records required for legal purposes for as long as those records, which may include personal information, may be required.


Outsourcing and Data Hosting Outside of Canada


Swanson Law may use third party service providers to process or deal with records, documents, data and information on behalf of Swanson Law, and such records, documents, data and information may include personal information.  In order to protect the confidentiality and security of personal information processed on behalf of Swanson Law by its service providers, Swanson Law will use contractual and similar measures with such service providers, including contractual non-disclosure provisions.


Swanson Law may use "cloud computing" third party service providers, and those providers may be either in or outside Canada, and the data housed, hosted and processed by such providers may reside in or outside of Canada, and may include personal information about individuals. Specifically, Swanson Law uses Office 365, Quick Books and Clio software which operate in the Cloud and therefore not necessarily within Canada. Where consent or notification is legally required with respect to other software, it is Swanson Law's policy to notify individuals about such service providers outside of Canada, and such notification will include the way in which the individual may obtain access to written information about Swanson Law's policies and practices with respect to service providers outside of Canada and the name or tile of a person who can answer any questions about the collection, use, disclosure or storage of personal information by any service providers outside Canada.
 

CASL Compliance


Canada has implemented stringent legislation (Generally referred to as Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation, or "CASL") prohibiting commercial electronic communications without adequate consent, and without an adequate unsubscribe mechanism.  Commercial electronic communications ("CEM's") are defined as emails and text messages.  It is the policy of Swanson Law to not send CEMs without valid legal consent from the recipient, and it is the policy of Swanson Law to always use the unsubscribe mechanisms prescribed by CASL.


Security


We recognize our legal obligations to protect the personal information we have gathered about individuals. We have therefore made arrangements to secure against unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, copying, modification, disposal or destruction of personal information.  These arrangements may include physical security measures, network security measures, and organizational measures such as non-disclosure agreements and need-to-know access.


Notification of Loss or Unauthorized Access or Disclosure


Where an incident occurs involving the loss of or unauthorized access to or disclosure of personal information under our control, where a reasonable person would consider that there exists a real risk of significant harm to an individual as a result of the loss or unauthorized access or disclosure, we will, without unreasonable delay, provide notice to the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Alberta of the incident, including any information required by law at the time to be provided to the Commissioner.  While Alberta law provides that the Commissioner has the authority to require us to notify individuals of the unauthorized access or disclosure, we may elect to immediately do so in the event we consider it reasonable in the circumstances. We may also be required to notify the Privacy Commissioner of Canada under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (Canada).


Requests for Access


Alberta law permits individuals to submit written requests to us to provide them with:
 

  • access to their personal information under the custody or control of Swanson Law;

  • information about the purposes for which their personal information under the custody or control of Swanson Law has been and is being used; and

  • the names of organizations or persons to whom and the circumstances in which personal information has been and is being disclosed by Swanson Law.

  • Requests for access are subject to the following:

  • Any requests must be in writing.

  • We do not accept such requests or respond to such requests via email.

  • In order to receive a response to such a request, the individual must provide us with sufficient information to locate their record, if any, and to respond to them.

  • We will respond to requests in the time allowed by Alberta law, which is generally 45 days.

  • We 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.

  • Where appropriate to do so, we may require advance payment of a deposit or the entire costs of responding to a request for access to personal information.

Please note that an individual's ability to access his or her personal information under our control is not an absolute right.  Alberta law provides that Swanson Law 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 his or her identity.

​Alberta law also provides that Swanson Law 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 Swanson Law 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.

 

Responses to Requests

 

Our responses to requests for access to personal information will be in writing, and will confirm:

  • whether we are providing all or part of the requested information,

  • whether or not we are allowing access or providing copies, and,

  • if access is being provided, when and how that will be given.

If access to information or copies are refused by us, we will provide written reasons for such refusal and the section of PIPA (the Personal Information Protection Act, Alberta) on which that refusal is based.  We will also provide the name of an individual at Swanson Law who can answer questions about the refusal, and particulars of how the requesting individual can ask the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta to review our decision.   In order to receive a response to such a request, the individual must provide us with sufficient information to locate their record, if any, and to respond to them.


Requests for Correction


Alberta law permits individuals to submit written requests to us to correct errors or omissions in their personal information that is in our custody or control. If an individual alleges errors or omissions in the personal information in our custody or control, we will either:
 

  • correct the personal information and, if reasonable to do so, and if not contrary to law, 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.

Corrections or amendments will rarely, if ever, be made to opinions, including expert or professional opinions, as opposed to factual information, which may be corrected if in error.
 

Amendment


Swanson Law may amend this Policy from time to time as required and without notice, in order to better meet our obligations under the law.
 

Contacting Swanson Law


If you have any questions with respect to our policies concerning the collection, use, disclosure or handling of your personal information, or if you wish to request access to, or correction of, your personal information under our care and control, or if you are dissatisfied with how we handle your personal information, please contact us at:


Swanson Law
600 Crowfoot Crescent NW

Suite 340
Calgary, Alberta T3G 0B4
Tel. 403-617-3888 | Fax. 403-290-2378
Email: jts@swansonlaw.ca

If you remain dissatisfied after our we have reviewed and responded to your concern, or have other concerns or questions, you have the right at any time to contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner at:


Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
# 410, 9925 - 109 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2J8
Phone: (780) 422-6860
Toll Free: 1-888-878-4044
Fax: (780) 422-5682