What Information We Collect and Why
We ask our clients to provide us with all information relevant to our engagement, including personal information about our clients and, at times, about other individuals with whom our clients transact. Such data is fundamental to the preparation of tax returns, financial statements, and many of the other services we provide.
Consent for Collection, Use, and Disclosure
We always endeavor to collect personal information directly from the person to whom the information pertains, where practical, and then if necessary will collect personal information from other sources. If and when we need to collect information about individuals other than our clients, this will be done in accordance with the provisions of PIPA. We will make a reasonable effort to ensure that the personal information we collect, use, and distribute is accurate and complete.
By engaging Lohn Caulder LLP to provide services, we consider an individual to have given our firm consent for the collection, use, and distribution of that individual’s personal information. Once this consent has been obtained by our firm, we will continue to collect, use, and disclose personal information for the purpose of providing the agreed-upon services without obtaining further written or verbal consent to do so. We may also collect, use, or disclose personal information about an individual without that individual’s consent as permitted under PIPA. Examples of this include (but are not limited to) the following circumstances:
· the collection, use, or disclosure is clearly in the interests of the individual and consent cannot be obtained in a timely way;
· the personal information is available to the public from a prescribed source; or
· the collection, use, or disclosure is required or authorized by law.
Our standard form engagement letter also sets out certain matters relating to privacy and confidentiality relating to communications and information relating to our professional and regulatory licensing.
Lohn Caulder LLP will maintain the strictest confidence with respect to any client’s or former client’s information. Accordingly, confidential client information will not, without client consent, be disclosed to any individuals in our firm beyond those who are engaged in providing services to the client. This policy applies to anyone outside the firm, except as where required by law or under the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia’s (CPABC) Code of Professional Conduct.
Our firm has an enforced policy emphasized in all of our staff hiring, and specifically referred to in our policy manuals. Upon hiring, all staff sign confidentiality agreements with the firm, acknowledging and agreeing not to access or use client information other than in the course of providing professional services to or for that client.
In accordance with professional regulations, our client files must periodically be reviewed by provincial practice inspectors and by other firm personnel to ensure that we have adhered to professional and firm standards. File reviewers are required to maintain confidentiality of client information.
Security and Retention
We restrict physical access to our files through locked areas within the building and locking cabinetry. The premises are locked to the outside at all times, save during regular business hours when responsible personnel are in attendance. We maintain a fully monitored alarm system, including video surveillance. A professional guard service patrols the premises at varying times during the night to prevent burglary and/or invasion, 7 days a week. Unauthorized access to our computer records is prevented through our professionally maintained IT infrastructure, while internal network access is restricted to authorized employees who possess unique usernames and passwords.
We retain personal information for as long as required for the efficient delivery of service to our clients, and to comply with the record-keeping requirements of the various governmental authorities, CPABC’s Code of Professional Conduct, and our professional liability insurance policy. When no longer required, all papers disposed of from this office are shredded by a recycling firm which specializes in the destruction of confidential data.
Requests for Access and Correction
Individuals have the right to ask, in writing, for access to their own personal information in the custody or under the controls of Lohn Caulder LLP, as permitted under PIPA. We will respond to requests as accurately and completely as is reasonably possible in the time allowed by PIPA, which ranges from 30 to 60 days depending on circumstance. We are entitled to refuse access in certain situations, such as the following:
· The personal information is protected by solicitor-client privilege.
· Disclosure of the personal information would reveal confidential commercial information that could, in a reasonable person’s opinion, harm the competitive position of Lohn Caulder LLP.
· The personal information was collected for an investigation or legal proceeding that has not concluded, including any appeals.
· The information was collected by a mediator or arbitrator in conducting a mediation or arbitration where the mediator or arbitrator was appointed under a collective agreement, an enactment, or by a court.
· The information is in a document that is subject to a solicitor’s lien.
· Such disclosure could reasonably be expected to threaten the safety or physical or mental health of an individual other than the individual who made the request.
· Such disclosure could reasonably be expected to cause immediate or grave harm to the safety or to the physical or mental health of the individual who made the request.
· Such disclosure would reveal personal information about another individual.
· Such disclosure would identify the individual who has provided personal information about another individual, and that individual does not consent to disclosure of his or her identity.
PIPA also allows individuals to request, in writing, for Lohn Caulder LLP to correct errors or omissions, and requires that we correct factual errors or omissions as soon as is reasonably possible. PIPA also requires that we inform each organization to whom we have disclosed the incorrect information, if it had been disclosed within one year prior to the request. If we determine there is no factual error or omission, we will annotate that a correction was requested but not made.
Lohn Caulder LLP
3rd Floor – 1500 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6G 2Z6
Tel: 604 687-5444