The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or PIPEDA (the Act), became law on January 1st 2004. The purpose of the Act is to protect personal information in the hands of private sector organizations and to provide guidelines for the collection, use and disclosure of that information in the course of conducting business.
Protecting clients’ information has always been important to Stern Cohen; it’s part of being chartered accountants. Our compliance with the Privacy Act (PIPEDA) is no less dedicated!
In compliance with the Act, we provide clients with a summary of our policies for protecting information; this includes the designation of a privacy officer, a person responsible for the firm’s compliance with the legislation.
If you have any questions regarding the Act, or Stern Cohen’s compliance with it, you may contact our privacy officer by e-mail at [email protected], or by mail to the privacy officer’s attention at our offices.
Changes or additions to the role of privacy officer will be made known to you upon request, or by consulting the firm’s website at www.sterncohen.com.
Over the course of conducting day-to-day business, and with clients’ full knowledge, we collect personal information. This data is collected and used in the process of providing our clients with professional services (Chartered Accountants, Business Advisors, Corporate Restructuring), or simply for establishing and maintaining communications of a general or specific nature.
Clients’ knowledge of, and consent to, personal information gathering is essential to complying with the Act. We accept individual consent in writing, verbally or by electronic means. We also accept the consent of clients’ authorized agents.
Consent includes the voluntary provision of clients’ personal information to us. This information will be gathered directly from the source whenever possible, or from third parties that clients designate. As noted above, the reason for gathering the information should be provided to you, or reasonably inferred by you, during the process.
Clients may withdraw consent at any time, in writing. However, in such situations we will then be limited in the services we can provide. We do not share personal information with any entity outside our own group, other than third party service suppliers that we engage from time to time to assist us. We require our third party suppliers to acknowledge and comply with our standards.
Stern Cohen will not release information to anyone else without clients’ consent, unless required to provide the information by law.
We collect only that information necessary to provide the professional services being offered. This information should usually come directly from you, or from people specifically designated by you to provide information to us.
The personal information we collect from you will only be used for the purposes for which it was collected, and or communications purposes with you and other parties authorized by you. As client, you may permit the use of the information for another purpose not specified earlier.
As a professional practice, we strive to maintain the completeness and accuracy of all personal information. Therefore, we encourage clients to contact us to provide additions, deletions and updates, as appropriate and as the changes occur.
Information collected from clients is stored in a security conscious manner in protected sites appropriate to the sensitivity of the information. Safeguards vary depending on the sensitivity, format, location and storage of the particular information collected from you. When no longer required, information is disposed of in a secure manner.
Clients’ information is clients’ information, and the Act entitles you to reasonable access, upon request, to our files or the copies and summaries of information maintained by us. Clients can, at any time, challenge the accuracy and completeness of information on file, and have it amended as appropriate.
We inform our clients about our policies and procedures relating to our managient of their information and we encourage our clients to ask about our practices.
We provide simple mechanisms with which clients can challenge our compliance with the Act. We trust that any inquiries can be answered to your satisfaction. If, in your view, there appears to be a dispute or disagreient with our compliance, our firm’s privacy officer should be contacted as soon as possible. If the privacy officer cannot alleviate your concerns, you can then contact the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
At Stern Cohen, we’ll provide you with guidance at every turn, on a wide and varied number of issues.
Stern Cohen… Guidance at every turn!