1. COMMITMENT TO PRIVACY
Miller Thomson LLP and its management corporation, Miltom Management LP, (collectively “Miller Thomson”, “we” or “us”) is committed to protecting the privacy, confidentiality, accuracy and security of personal information in our possession. This Policy outlines how we collect, use, disclose and safeguard the personal information of individuals who work – and do business with – Miller Thomson.
Personal information refers to most information about an identifiable individual or any information that allows an individual to be identified. This may include your name and address, age and gender, personal financial records, or identification numbers.
Miller Thomson is a national law firm with offices across Canada and is subject to privacy legislation in each of the jurisdictions in which it operates. Our obligations are governed in part by the Rules of Professional Conduct that apply to each of our professionals. These obligations apply to all partners, employees, contractors and agents in the provision of legal services to our clients. Thus, much of the personal information in our possession or that we collect is protected by solicitor-client privilege. We honour and respect our professional obligation to keep confidential the information we receive due to a solicitor-client relationship.
We are committed to collecting, using and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent that you have consented and to the extent necessary to serve clients and our related business purposes. We strive to limit the amount of personal information we collect from individuals or organizations to what is required for the purposes of providing legal advice and services, carrying out client instructions and as otherwise set out in this Policy.
2. WHY WE COLLECT, USE AND DISCLOSE PERSONAL INFORMATION
We may collect, use or disclose personal information for the following reasons:
⁃ To perform conflict searches and/or otherwise determine whether Miller Thomson will enter into a professional relationship.
⁃ For client communication, service and administration.
⁃ For the use of legal precedents.
⁃ To provide legal advice and/or represent you in a transaction or litigation.
⁃ For billing and accounting services relating to our products and services.
⁃ To advise clients and others of our newsletters, courses and seminars.
⁃ To send holiday cards or other greetings from the firm.
⁃ For internal, external and regulatory audit purposes.
⁃ For any other purpose for which we have your consent.
⁃ For other reasons as permitted or required by applicable laws and regulations.
⁃ To comply with legal and regulatory requirements (such as, but not limited to: Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements).
B. Personal Information About Members of the General Public
Our primary purpose for collecting personal information from non-clients is usually incidental; to gather and review evidence that is relevant to a legal issue affecting our own clients.
For example, we may collect, use and disclose personal information from or about third parties for the following reasons:
⁃ To provide legal advice to our clients.
⁃ To provide members of the general public with information about special events (e.g. a seminar or conference) or to make them aware of our legal services.
⁃ To maintain information about potential employees through our recruitment and hiring process.
C. Personal Information About Employees
As an employer, Miller Thomson collects and uses personal information of employees. The collection and use of employee personal information is a necessary component to the administration of the employment relationship. Miller Thomson is committed to limiting the collection, use and disclosure of employee personal information for the purpose of administering and facilitating the employment relationship.
3. CONSENT TO USE PERSONAL INFORMATION
By checking the consent box, below, you signify your consent to the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information in accordance with this Policy.
If you provide Miller Thomson with personal information regarding another individual, you represent that, prior to providing such information you have obtained the necessary consent to permit Miller Thomson to collect, use and disclose this personal information for the purposes set out in this Policy or otherwise applicable by law.
In many circumstances, privacy legislation requires us to obtain the consent of an individual for the collection, use or disclosure of personal information. Consent may be obtained in various ways, but it must be express. Express consent could be in writing, for example, in a signed consent or e-mail communication, or verbally in person or over the telephone. Such express consent will allow us to deal with your personal information in a reasonable manner for the purpose of providing our services to you. If you need to provide us with personal information about other individuals (such as employees, dependents, etc.), you must, where required by law and prior to your disclosure to us, obtain the consent of each individual to the disclosure for the specific purposes the disclosure is made by you.
Providing us with your personal information is always your choice. When you request services from us, we ask that you provide information that enables us to respond to your request. In doing so, you consent to our collection, use and disclosure to appropriate third parties of such personal information for these purposes. You also authorize us to use and retain this personal information for as long as it may be required for the purposes described above. Your consent remains valid even after the termination of our relationship with you, unless you provide us with written notice that such consent is withdrawn.
There are legal exceptions where we will not need to obtain consent or explain the purposes for the collection, use or disclosure of personal information. Some examples of situations where consent is not required include an emergency that threatens the life, health or security of an individual, or if we must comply with a court order. A more complete list of exemptions may be obtained by contacting one of our privacy officers listed below.
If for any reason it becomes necessary for us to use or disclose personal information for a different purpose than was identified when you originally provided it, we will make reasonable efforts to contact you in advance and obtain your consent.
If an individual is a current or previous client of Miller Thomson, we will maintain their information to facilitate our provision of services. If you do not wish to receive information about our services, please contact the Privacy Officer noted below and we will update our contact list accordingly.
4. SHARING PERSONAL INFORMATION WITH OTHERS
In providing our services, we may need to disclose the personal information we collect to other service providers or agents who perform various functions for us. Where we disclose personal information to third parties (i.e. for archival storage services) or third party services related to services rendered to and for our clients, our agreements with such third parties will stipulate that the third parties agree to only use the personal information for the purposes specified in the agreement and that they agree to provide a level of protection of personal information comparable to that used by Miller Thomson.
We do not sell client lists or personal information to others.
In certain circumstances, we may be required to provide personal information to third parties for legal or regulatory purposes.
The personal information of clients is protected by a lawyer’s professional responsibility to protect client confidences. The law of solicitor-client privilege also protects privileged information, which a lawyer must never disclose without client instructions. The applicable privacy legislation does not abrogate solicitor-client privilege but rather provides that nothing in the legislation affects solicitor-client privilege. Accordingly, the firm will protect client confidences and information which is covered by solicitor-client privilege.
As lawyers for a client, we have professional obligations to disclose to such client information in the client’s file at the request of the client.
5. KEEPING INFORMATION ACCURATE
It is important that your personal information is accurate and complete. Having accurate information about you enables us to give you the best possible service. With some exceptions, you have the right to access, verify and amend the information we have about you. You can help us keep personal information up-to-date by keeping us informed of any changes, such as a change of address, telephone number or any other circumstances.
Despite our best efforts, errors sometimes do occur. If you identify any personal information that is out-of-date, incorrect or incomplete, let us know and we will make the corrections promptly and use every reasonable effort to communicate these changes to other parties who may have inadvertently received incorrect or out-of-date personal information from us.
6. HOW WE SAFEGUARD PERSONAL INFORMATION
At Miller Thomson we take all appropriate physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect our systems and all personal information under our control against unauthorized access and use. All safety and security measures are appropriate to the sensitivity level of the information collected.
Our service providers and agents, as part of their contracts with Miller Thomson, are bound to maintain client confidentiality, and may not use the information for any unauthorized purpose.
Employees are governed by strict standards and policies to ensure that personal information is secure and treated with the utmost care and respect.
While we take all appropriate steps to safeguard your personal information, there is a risk involved in the exchange and/or safeguarding of information using any form of communication – electronic or otherwise – including, but not limited to the Cloud. If your data is stored on the Cloud, your data may be exported outside of Canada. With data stored on the Cloud, it is also possible that your data could be compellable by a foreign government.
We assume no liability for any damages you may suffer as a result of any possible misuse of confidential information during such exchanges of information. Miller Thomson’s preferred method of communication is e-mail and, unless you otherwise direct us in writing, we may use unencrypted plain text emails when communicating with you.
7. CONTACT INFORMATION
Please contact our Firm Privacy Officer to obtain further information about our policies and procedures, or to seek access to personal information we may have about you, or if you have any unresolved inquiries or concerns. We will respond to you promptly and do our utmost to resolve your concerns. In every instance we will consider our obligations with respect to privileged information, as well as our separate obligations under applicable Privacy legislation. We may need to ask you for personal information to verify your identity.
Firm Privacy Officer
Contact: Pascale Cloutier, Partner and General Counsel
While Miller Thomson makes every effort to secure all communications within our control and on our premises, please be advised that no method of delivery is absolutely secure and any communication of personal information may be accidentally or deliberately intercepted by third parties.