The Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”) regulates the way organizations in British Columbia use, keep, secure, disclose and collect Personal Information. “Personal Information” means all information about an identifiable individual and includes paper and electronic information. The Notary recognizes the importance of privacy and recognizes the sensitivity of Personal Information received in the course of our Notary practice.
We recognize the professional obligations to maintain the confidentiality of our clients’ information, and recognize our obligations concerning the Personal Information of all individuals that we collect, use or disclose in our practice. This policy has been developed with those obligations in mind.
Why do we need Personal Information?
To give legal and notarial advice to clients, we need access to all relevant facts and information relating to the transaction. This information will necessarily include Personal Information about our clients and about individuals other than our clients.
What do we do with the information?
When we can, we collect Personal Information directly from the person to whom the information pertains. If necessary, we will collect Personal Information from other sources.
By retaining us for advice or representation, our client consents to our collection, use or disclosure of the client’s Personal Information in order to properly advise and represent the client.
It is our policy to collect Personal Information about individuals other than clients in accordance with the provisions of PIPA. The Act provides that an individual has consented to our collection, use or disclosure of Personal Information about that individual if, at the time the consent is deemed given, the purpose is considered obvious to a reasonable person. In those circumstances, we will collect, use or disclose Personal Information without obtaining a written or verbal consent to do so.
The Act also permits us to collect, use or disclose Personal Information about an individual in some circumstances without the individual’s consent. These include (but are not limited to) circumstances in which:
- the collection, use or disclosure is clearly in the interests of the individual and consent cannot be obtained in a timely way;
- it is reasonable to expect that the collection or use of Personal Information with the consent of the individual would compromise the availability or accuracy of the information, and the collection or use of the information is necessary for an investigation or proceeding;
- it is reasonable to expect that the disclosure of Personal Information with the consent of the individual would compromise an investigation or proceeding, and the disclosure of the information is necessary for an investigation or proceeding;
- the Personal Information is available to the public from certain other sources;
- the collection, use or disclosure of Personal Information is required or authorized by law.
When we collect, use or disclose Personal Information, we will make reasonable efforts to ensure that is accurate and complete.How will we keep Personal Information secure?
We recognize our professional and legal obligation to protect the confidential information of our clients and other individuals we have collected within our practice. We have, therefore, made arrangements to secure against the unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, copying, modification, disposal or destruction of Personal Information.Under what circumstances will we release Personal Information?
The Act permits individuals to submit written requests to us to provide them with:
- their Personal Information in our custody or control;
- information about how we use their Personal Information under our control;
- the names of the individuals and organizations to whom we have disclosed their Personal Information under our control.
We will respond to requests in the time allowed by the Act and as authorized by you pursuant to various documents in our file. 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.
An individual does not have an absolute ability to access his or her Personal Information under our control. The Act provides that we must not disclose Personal Information when:
- disclosure could reasonably be expected to threaten the safety or physical or mental health of someone else;
- disclosure can reasonably be expected to cause the person who made the request immediate or grave harm as to their safety or physical or mental health;
- disclosure would reveal Personal Information about someone else;
- disclosure would reveal the identity of an individual who has provided Personal Information about someone else and the person providing the Personal Information does not consent to disclosure of his or her identity.
The Act further provides that we are not required to disclose Personal Information when:
- the Personal Information is protected to the extent allowed by notary/client privilege;
- disclosure of the Personal Information would reveal confidential commercial information that, if disclosed, could in the opinion of a reasonable person, harm the competitive position of an organization;
- 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 a collective agreement,
- under an enactment, or
- by a court.