Why Does VisaMe Canada Require Personal Information?
VisaMe Canada provides immigration services to clients. We require personal information from clients in order to provide clients with the professional services for which we are retained.
“Personal information” means any information about an identifiable individual (whether recorded or not). Examples of personal information are:
- age, name, ID numbers, income, ethnic origin or blood type
- opinions, evaluations, comments, social status or disciplinary actions; and
- employee files, credit records, loan records or medical records.
What Personal Information Does VisaMe Canada Collect?
VisaMe Canada collects personal information from clients in all areas of its practice.
In real estate transactions, we require personal information to complete the purchase, sale and refinances/financing of residential, recreational and commercial properties. We may also require clients’ names, addresses and dates of birth, Social Insurance Numbers and personal identification documentation to provide to clients’ lenders, real estate agents, vendors, banks or governmental and regulatory authorities (the “Authorities”). We are often called upon to provide verification of identity to the lenders/banks providing financing to our clients.
In corporate/commercial transactions, we require personal information to complete the purchase and sale of corporations, financings, to maintain corporate records with the relevant governmental and regulatory authorities (the “Authorities”). We may also require personal information such as name, date of birth and address for lender purposes and directors’ addresses to provide to the Authorities.
How Does VisaMe Canada Collect Personal Information?
VisaMe Canada collects personal information in accordance with PIPEDA. The collection, use and disclosure of clients’ personal information depends on the type of services VisaMe Canada is retained to provide. Generally all clients are required to provide us with the information and documentation that we are obligated to obtain by the Law Society of Upper Canada in identifying our clients and in some instances verifying their identity. Such identification and verification documents are required to be reined by us for a period of six years after we have concluded the matter for which we were retained.
In real estate transactions, we explain to clients in our introductory letters the personal information we require to complete the transaction. We provide clients with the opportunity to advise us if they do not want us to use, disclose or collect their personal information.
In securities transactions, we obtain clients’ consent in subscription agreements which authorize us to provide their personal information to those parties necessary to complete the transaction.
In corporate/commercial transactions, we obtain clients’ consent in “Consent to Act as a Director” forms and verbally if required for borrowing purposes.
In estate planning and administration, we obtain clients’ consent concurrently with obtaining the information when we also explain precisely the use to which such information would be put. The consent of the client is implicit in retaining us for the provision of services that by their very nature dictate the disclosure of personal information.
We may, at times, obtain information about clients from other sources, such as mortgage brokers, bank managers, insurance companies, real estate agents, government agencies or accountants.
Clients’ knowledge and consent are required before VisaMe Canada may collect, use or disclose clients’ personal information, except in situations otherwise permitted by law. Consent means that clients clearly understand what information is or may be collected, in what circumstances the information may be collected, and by what means.
In most cases, we request that clients provide us with explicit oral or written consent, if we collect, use or disclose clients’ personal information. In limited situations, clients’ consent may be implied through conduct with us. If any of the personal information that we collect is sensitive, we will obtain additional written or oral consent from clients, before collecting, using or disclosing the personal information.
Clients may withdraw their consent at any time upon reasonable notice, subject to legal or contractual restrictions. However, withdrawing consent may affect VisaMe Canada’s ability to continue to provide clients with professional services.
Use of Personal Information
VisaMe Canada uses clients’ personal information to provide services to clients, to administer client time and billing databases, and to include clients in the firm’s direct marketing activities. If clients advise us that they no longer wish to receive information about our services, or about new developments in the law, we will not send any further material.
VisaMe Canada will not disclose clients’ personal information to any third party to enable them to market their products and services.
Disclosure of Personal Information
Under the following circumstances, VisaMe Canada will disclose clients’ personal information:
- when it is required or authorized by law to do so;
- when clients have consented to the disclosure;
- when the legal services we are providing to clients require us to give client’s personal information to third parties;
- where it is necessary to establish or collect fees;
- if we retain other law firms in other jurisdictions on a client’s behalf; and
- if the information is already publicly known.
Updating Personal Information
As we use clients’ personal information to provide legal services to clients, it is important that the information be accurate and up-to-date. If during the course of our representing clients, any personal information changes, we request that clients inform us so that we can make any necessary changes and update our files.
Is Clients’ Personal Information Secure?
VisaMe Canada takes all reasonable precautions to ensure that clients’ personal information is kept safe from loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. The steps taken to ensure clients’ personal information is protected are as follows:
- restricted file access to personal information;
- deploying technological safeguards like security software and firewalls to prevent hacking or unauthorized computer access; and
- internal password and security policies.
Access to Personal Information
Clients can challenge the accuracy and completeness of their personal information and request that it be amended. A summary of clients’ information is available on request. More detailed requests which require archive or other retrieval costs may be subject to our professional and disbursement fees. Please make your request in writing to VisaMe Canada, stating as specifically as possible what personal information you are requesting. We will respond to such requests within 30 days and will advise clients within 30 days if we cannot respond within that time.
If VisaMe Canada holds personal information about clients that is not accurate, complete and up-to-date, we will take reasonable steps to correct it once we are advised that it is incorrect.
Clients’ rights to access personal information held by us are not absolute. We may deny clients access when:
- denial of access is required or authorized by law;
- information relates to existing or anticipated legal proceedings against clients;
- when granting clients’ access would have an unreasonable impact on other people’s privacy;
- when to do so would prejudice negotiations with clients;
- to protect our firm’s rights and property;
- where the request is frivolous or vexatious.
If we deny clients’ requests for access to personal information or refuse to correct personal information, we will explain the reasons for our refusal.
Communicating With Us
When communicating with us, clients should be aware that e-mail is not a 100% secure medium for information. If clients want to ensure the confidence of the personal information they send to us, they should use more secure mediums such as the telephone, letters or direct contact.