Privacy Policy

Giffen Lawyers LLP and its affiliated corporations, GL Financial Services and Peaceworks ADR Inc., are committed to maintaining the accuracy, security and confidentiality of information that has been provided to us. We have prepared this policy statement as a statement of the principles and guidelines we have put in place to protect your privacy, inform you of our practices concerning the collection, use, and disclosure of information provided to our firm, and our commitment to you to protect the privacy of the personal information that you have entrusted to us. As lawyers, we have a professional obligation to keep confidential information we receive within a lawyer/client relationship. This privacy policy outlines how we manage your personal information and safeguard your privacy.



1. What Personal Information Do We Collect?


Personal information is described in Canadian privacy legislation as information about an identifiable individual or as information that allows an individual to be identified. The types of personal information that we may collect about you includes your name, address, telephone number, email address, billing and account information, information about a client’s legal issues and other information incidental in providing legal advice and services (including personal information about witnesses, family members, beneficiaries, directors, officers, employees, adverse parties, parties in interest, investigators, decision makers, experts, other professional advisors and our client’s business partners, investors, shareholders, competitors and customers who are individuals).

2. Why Do We Collect Personal Information?


We collect personal information from our clients to:

  • provide legal services to you in accordance with your instructions;
  • bill you for legal services rendered;
  • provide information to you about developments in the law, and advise you of upcoming firm events and changes in the law;

In general, Giffen Lawyers LLP collects, uses and discloses personal information about our clients and service providers in order to provide our clients with professional legal services. More specifically, we collect, use and disclose your personal information for the following purposes:

to establish and manage client relationships;

  • provide legal advice;
  • perform legal services;
  • fulfill legal duties, and avoid conflicts of interest (This may include the sharing of information by and between Giffen Lawyers LLP personnel and affiliated companies and partnerships for such purposes);
  • to share personal information to and from third parties for the purpose of providing legal services. Such third parties may include opposing parties, parties in interest, other counsel, advisors, witnesses, decision makers and experts;
  • to consider whether Giffen Lawyers LLP should establish a commercial relationship with clients, suppliers and other third parties, including to evaluate credit standing and to obtain credit bureau or credit reporting agency information;
  • to establish and maintain commercial relationships with clients, suppliers and other third parties, including to issue invoices, administer accounts, collect and process payments and to fulfill contractual obligations;
  • to understand and respond to client, supplier and other third party needs and preferences including to contracting communicate with such parties and to conduct surveys, research and evaluation;
  • to develop, enhance, market, sell or otherwise provide Giffen Lawyers LLP products and services or the products and services of third parties with whom Giffen Lawyers LLP has a commercial relationship;
  • to distribute newsletters, conference information and other material to individuals on our mail and email lists including by way of third party mailing houses and email service providers;
  • to develop and manage our knowledge - management precedent systems and data bases;
  • to develop and manage Giffen Lawyers LLP’s business and operations;
  • to build and maintain the firm’s expertise and knowledge;
  • to detect and protect Giffen Lawyers LLP and other third parties against error, negligence, breach of contract, fraud, theft, and other illegal activity and to audit compliance with Giffen Lawyers LLP policies and contractual obligations;
  • to engage in business transactions, including the purchase, sale, lease, merger, amalgamation or other type of acquisition, disposal, securitization or financing involving Giffen Lawyers LLP;
  • as permitted by and to comply with any legal or regulatory requirements or provision;
  • for any other purpose to which you consent.




Consent for the collection, use and/or disclosure of personal information may be obtained orally or in writing and may be expressly given or implied. In deciding how we obtain your consent, we will take into account the sensitivity of the personal information about you that we are collecting, using or disclosing.


Should you withdraw your consent, that may impact on our ability to serve youand to maintain our relationship,



3. How Do We Collect Your Personal Information?


We may collect information directly from you at the start of a retainer and in the course of our representation of you. Sometimes we may also obtain information about you from other sources such as:

  • your insurance company;
  • your real estate agent in a property transaction;
  • a government agency or registry;
  • an employer if we are acting for you at your employer’s request;
  • other professionals who serve you, such as your accountant;
  • other parties, witnesses and or participants in the context of litigation or commercial transactions;
  • other consultants retained by you to assist with your legal concerns.


4. To Whom Do We Disclose Your Personal Information


We do not disclose your personal information to third parties to enable them to market their products and services.
From time to time, Giffen Lawyers LLP may disclose your personal information.


Some examples are:

  • when you consent to the disclosure;
  • where we are required or permitted by law to do so;
  • as required by the Law Society of Upper Canada;
  • to service providers, including organizations or individuals retained by Giffen Lawyers LLP to perform functions on its behalf, such as marketing, data processing, document management and office services;
  • to organizations or individuals retained by Giffen Lawyers LLP to evaluate your credit worthiness or collect debts outstanding on an account;
  • a financial institution, on a confidential basis and solely in connection with the assignment of a right to receive payment, the provision of security or other financial arrangements;
  • to a person who in the reasonable judgment of Giffen Lawyers LLP is providing or seeking information as your agent;
  • in the event of a merger by or growth of Giffen Lawyers LLP;
  • if we retain expert witnesses on your behalf;
  • if we retain another law firm on your behalf.


5. Use of Your Information


We use your personal information to provide legal advice and services to you, to build and maintain our firm’s expertise and knowledge, to administer our client and accounting databases, and to include you in our information distribution and marketing activities. We do not disclose your personal information to any third party to enable them to retail their products and services without first obtaining express consent from you. For example, we do not provide our client mailing list to any other law firms or to consultants we work with from time to time.



6. Where Do We Store Your Personal Information?


Your personal information is stored in secure locations and on servers controlled by Giffen Lawyers LLP, located either at our offices or at the offices of our service providers.


We take all reasonable steps to ensure that your personal information is kept from loss, unauthorized access, modification or disclosure. Among the steps we take to protect your information from disclosure are:

  • secure premises;
  • restricted access to personal information stored electronically;
  • deploying technological safeguards like security software and firewalls to prevent hacking or unauthorized computer access;
  • internal passwords and security policies;
  • the obligation of each lawyer to maintain client confidentiality under the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Law Society of Upper Canada;
  • We ask all employees and third parties that have access to personal information collected by Giffen Lawyers LLP to sign a confidentiality agreement that is in keeping with this policy. 


7. 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 that require archival or other retrieval costs, may be subject to our normal professional and disbursement fees. If you wish to ask for access to your personal information, you should make a request in writing to the privacy officer at Giffen Lawyers LLP who will inform you of the existence, use and disclosure of your personal information which will be given to you subject to certain exceptions as set out in the law. Access requests should be sent to our chief privacy officer using the contact information below.



8. Can I Be Denied Access To My 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 peoples privacy;
  • when to do so would prejudice negotiations with you;
  • to protect our firm’s rights and property;
  • when the request is frivolous and vexatious.
  • If we deny your request for access to, or refuse a request to correct information, we will explain the reasons for doing so.

Giffen Lawyers LLP does not use your social insurance number as a way of identifying or organizing information we hold about you. 



9. Privacy In Our Website


When an individual accesses the Giffen Lawyers LLP website, we may use a browser feature called Cookie to collect information such as the type of internet browser and operating system the visitor uses, the domain name of the website from which the visitor came, date and duration of the visit, number of visits, average times spent on our website, pages viewed and number of cookies accumulated.


A cookie is a small text file that identifies the visitors browser, but not necessarily the visitor to our computer each time our website is visited. We may also use this website information and share it with other organizations with whom we have a commercial relationship to measure the use of our website to improve the function and content of the website and to improve use by visitors.



Online Communications


In order to provide our website visitors with a service or information, visitors may voluntarily submit personal information to us for the purpose of asking a question, obtaining information, reviewing or downloading a publication, participating in a seminar or other event, and participating in contests and surveys.


E-mail Communications


Occasionally we may send marketing or promotional email communications to you with information which may be useful, including information about the services of Giffen Lawyers LLP and other third parties with whom we have a relationship. We will include instructions on how to unsubscribe and inform us of preferences if you decide you do not want to receive any future marketing or promotional emails from us.


If you send us personal or confidential information by email, you should be aware that email is not a secure medium.




Our website may contain links to other website which are provided as a convenience only. Visitors are advised that other third party websites may have different privacy policies and practices than Giffen Lawyers LLP, and we has no responsibility for such third party websites.


10. How Long Do You Keep My Personal Information?


We keep your personal information as long as is reasonably necessary for us to complete our dealings with you, or as may be required by law, or whichever is longer.


11. Changes To This Privacy Policy


We will regularly review our policies and procedures and may change our privacy policy from time to time. We will post updates on our website.



12. Request For Access/Inquiries/Complaints


If you have any questions or wish to access your personal information, please write to our privacy officer. If you have any questions or concerns about how your information has, is or will be handled by Giffen Lawyers LLP, or if you would like to register a complaint, please contact our privacy officer.