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 McMaster, McIntyre & Smyth, LLP. The Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information.
McMaster, McIntyre & Smyth, LLP 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.
Why Does McMaster, McIntyre & Smyth, LLP Need Personal Information
McMaster, McIntyre & Smyth, LLP provides legal services and products to a wide range of clients. In doing so, it may produce direct marketing materials concerning its services and developments in the law.
If we did not collect and use your personal information we could not provide you with legal services.
What personal information do we collect?
Personal information is any information that identifies you, or by which your identity could be deduced.
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, 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;
- Another lawyer that referred you to us;
- From a government agency or registry;
- Your employer, if we are acting for you, at its request;
- Your accountant.
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.
Use of Your Information
We may use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to administer our client (time and billing databases) and to include you in our own direct marketing activities. If you tell us that you no longer wish to receive information about our services, or about new developments in the law, we will not send any further material.
McMaster, McIntyre & Smyth, LLP does not disclose your personal information to any third party to enable them to market their products and services.
Disclosure of your Personal Information
Under certain circumstances, McMaster, McIntyre & Smyth, LLP will disclose your personal information:
- When we are required or authorized by law to do so, including the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Law Society of Upper Canada;
- When you have consented to the disclosure (that consent may be verbal, in writing or implied);
- 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, on your behalf;
- If the information is already publicly known;
Updating Your Information
Since we use your personal information to provide legal services to you, it is important that the information be accurate and up-to-date.
If during the course of the retainer, any of your information changes, please inform us so that we can make any necessary changes.
Is Your Personal Information Secure?
McMaster, McIntyre & Smyth, LLP 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.
If McMaster, McIntyre & Smyth, LLP holds information about you and you can establish that it is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, McMaster, McIntyre & Smyth, LLP will take reasonable steps to correct it.
Can You be Denied Access to Your Personal Information?
Your rights to access your personal information are not absolute.
We may deny access when:
- Denial of access is required or authorized by law (for example, when a record containing personal information about you is subject to a claim of legal professional privilege by one of our clients);
- Information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings against you;
- When granting you access would have an unreasonable impact on other people's privacy;
- When to do so would prejudice negotiations with you;
- To protect our firm's rights and property;
- Where the request is frivolous or vexatious.
If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, we shall explain why.
McMaster, McIntyre & Smyth, LLP does not use your Social Insurance Number as a way of identifying or organizing the information we hold upon you.
Can you 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 Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing 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 or suspicious cash transactions.
To help us make credit decisions about clients, prevent fraud, check the identity of new clients and prevent money-laundering, we may on occasion, 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.
Requests for Access
If you have any questions, or wish to access your personal information, please write to our Privacy Contact at
McMaster, McIntyre & Smyth, LLP
Attn: Privacy Officer
2777 Dundas Street West,
Toronto, ON M6P 1Y4.
If you are not satisfied with our response, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada can be reached at
112 Kent Street,
Ottawa Ontario, K1A 1H3
If you apply to McMaster, McIntyre & Smyth, LLP for a job, we need to consider your personal information, as part of our review process. We normally retain information from candidates after a decision has been made, unless you ask us not to retain the information. If we offer you a job, which you accept, the information will be retained in accordance with our privacy procedures for employee records.
What personal information is collected through this website and how is it used?
User-supplied information: If you fill out the contact form on this website, we will ask you to provide some personal information (such as e-mail address, name, phone number and state). We only require that you provide an e-mail address on the contact form. Further, if chat is available through this site, you may be asked to provide information if you participate in an online chat. Please do not submit any confidential, proprietary or sensitive personally identifiable information (e.g. Social Security Number; date of birth; drivers license number; or credit card, bank account or other financial information) (collectively, "Sensitive Information"). If you submit any Sensitive Information, you do so at your own risk and we will not be liable to you or responsible for consequences of your submission.
Information that you provide to us through the contact form or an online chat will be used so that we may respond to your inquiry. We may also use information you provide to us to communicate with you in the future. If you do not wish to receive such communications, you may opt out (unsubscribe) as described below.
Web server logs: When you visit our website, we may track information about your visit and store that information in web server logs, which are records of the activities on our sites. The servers automatically capture and save the information electronically. Examples of the information we may collect include:
- Your unique Internet protocol address;
- The name of your unique Internet service provider;
- The town/city, county/state and country from which you access our website;
- The kind of browser or computer you use;
- The number of links you click within the site;
- The date and time of your visit;
- The web page from which you arrived to our site;
- The pages you viewed on the site; and
- Certain searches/queries that you conducted via our website(s).
The information we collect in web server logs helps us administer the site, analyze its usage, protect the website and its content from inappropriate use and improve the user's experience.
How is personal information protected?
We take certain appropriate security measures to help protect your personal information from accidental loss and from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. However, we cannot guarantee that unauthorized persons will always be unable to defeat our security measures.
Who has access to the information?
We will not sell, rent, or lease mailing lists or other user data to others, and we will not make your personal information available to any unaffiliated parties, except as follows:
- To agents, website vendors and/or contractors who may use it on our behalf or in connection with their relationship with us;
- If we are unable to assist with your matter, but know an unaffiliated lawyer or firm that may be able to help you, we may refer you and share information you provided us with that party; and
- As required by law, in a matter of public safety or policy, as needed in connection with the transfer of our business assets (for example, if we are acquired by another firm or if we are liquidated during bankruptcy proceedings), or if we believe in good faith that sharing the data is necessary to protect our rights or property.