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Document Last Updated on December 8, 2014
Di Maio Design Associates | Architect Inc.
Di Maio Design Associates | Architect Inc.
1674 Ottawa Street, Windsor, Ontario, N8Y 1R1
T. 519.945.8663 E. email@example.com
1. Privacy of personal information is an important principal to Di Maio Design Associates | Architect Inc. We are committed to collecting, using and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the goods and services we provide. We also try to be open and transparent as to how we handle personal information. This document describes our privacy policies.
WHAT IS PERSONAL INFORMATION?
2. Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. Personal information included information that relates to their personal characteristics (e.g., gender, age, income, home address or phone number, ethnic background, family status), their health (e.g., disabilities affecting mobility) or their activities and views (e.g., residential building plans and preferences, religion, politics, opinions expressed by an individual, an opinion or evaluation of an individual). Personal information is to be contrasted with business information (e.g., an individual’s address and telephone number), which is protected by privacy legislation.
WHO WE ARE:
3. Our organization, Di Maio Design Associates | Architect Inc., provides architectural advice and services to both residential and commercial clients. It includes, at the time of writing, one architect and five support staff. We use a number of consultants and agencies that may, in the course of their duties, have limited access to personal information we hold. These include computer consultants, accountants, credit card companies and our lawyers. We restrict their access to any personal information we hold as much as reasonably possible. We also have their assurance that they follow appropriate privacy principles.
WE COLLECT PERSONAL INFORMATION: PRIMARY PURPOSES
4. Like most architects, we collect, use and disclose personal information in order to serve our clients. For our clients, the primary purpose of collecting information about the client’s building or renovation desires and intended uses, financial situation and, for residential services, family circumstances so that we can advise the client as to their options. We then carry our their instructions.
5. A second primary purpose might be to collect personal information from third parties (e.g., neighbors) about a client’s architectural plans so that we can ascertain how the third party’s views affect our client’s architectural situation.
6. A third primary purpose is to obtain home contact information so that we can contact the client in private or in an emergency.
7. It would be rare for us to collect any personal information without the client’s expressed consent, but this might occur in a case or urgency (e.g., the client is unavailable) or where we believe the client would consent if asked and it is impractical to obtain consent (e.g., a family member who appears to be aware of the project contacts us to provide additional information).
ABOUT MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC
8. For Members of the General Public, our primary purpose for collecting personal information is usually to gather and review information that is relevant to an architectural issue affecting our own clients (e.g., if they would object to a project). Thus, the personal information is usually incidental to our providing advice to our client. Normally this would be done with the consent of the individual.
9. Another primary purpose for collecting personal information about members of the general public is to provide notice of special events (e.g., a seminar or conference) or to make them aware of architectural services in general or our firm in particular. For example, while we try to collect work contact information where possible, we might collect home addresses; fax numbers, and e-mail addresses. We try to obtain consent before collecting any such personal information, but where this is none, for any reason, possible, we will upon request remove any personal information from our distribution list.
10. We collect personal information about the contractors and other suppliers and their staff to assist us in assessing their performance, both of the specific project in issue and in respect of future projects. We may share this information in a reciprocal way with other architects and construction contracts. Often this information is collected with consent as a part of a written or verbal contract with the organizations involved. Sometimes the exceptions for collecting personal information without consent relating to publicly available information, breach of agreement and contravention of the law apply. Sometimes the information is business, not personal, information.
ABOUT CONTACT STAFF, STUDENTS AND VOLUNTEERS
11. For people who are contracted to do work for us (e.g., temporary workers, students and volunteers), our primary purpose for collecting personal information is to ensure we can contact them in the future (e.g., for new assignments) and for necessary work-related communication (e.g., sending our paychecks, year-end tax receipts, tax filings). Examples of the type of personal information we collect for those purposes include home addresses and telephone numbers and performance information for a review or a reference letter. It is rare for us to collect such information without prior consent, but it might happen in the case of a health emergency (e.g., an outbreak of a contagious disease) or to investigate a possible breach of law (e.g., if a theft were to occur in the office).
CONTRACTORS, SUPPLIERS AND PROJECT SECURITY
12. We collect personal information about contractors and other suppliers and their staff to assist us in assessing their performance, both for the specific project in issue and in respect of future projects. We may share this information in a reciprocal way with other architects and construction contacts. Often this information is collected with consent as a part of a written or verbal contract with the organizations involved. Sometimes the exceptions for collecting personal information without consent relating to publicly available information, breach of agreement and contravention of the law apply. Sometimes the information is business, not personal, information.
13. We may collect information to maintain the security of our projects through cameras and security personnel. We try to make it known, through signs of the public nature of the cameras and personnel that we are doing so.
THIRD PARTY OPINIONS
14. When we are retained to provide an opinion about the work of another architect or a related professional, our primary purpose of collecting personal information is to gather the necessary information to express a sound opinion on the issue for our client. In such circumstances, we often act without the consent of the subject of the third party opinion because we are inquiring into an apparent breach of law or an agreement and obtaining consent would compromise the investigation.
WE COLLECT PERSONAL INFORMATION: RELATED AND SECONDARY PURPOSES
15. Like most organizations, we also collect, use and disclose information for the purposes related to or secondary to our primary purposes. The most common examples of our related and secondary purposes are as follows:
To invoice clients for goods or services that have not been paid for at the time, to process credit card payments or to collect unpaid accounts.
To advise clients and other of new developments in architecture (e.g., a newsletter sent to a home email account of a client).
Architects are regulated by the Ontario Association of Architect who may inspect our records and interview our staff as a part of its regulatory activities in the public interest. In addition, as professionals, we will report serious misconduct, incompetence or incapacity of ther practitioners, whether they belong to other organizations or our own. Also, our firm believes that it should report information suggesting serious illegal behavior to the authorities. External regualators have their own strict privacy obligations. These reports could include personal information about our clients, or other individuals, to support the concern (e.g., improper services), although we try to keep this disclosure to a minimum. Also, like all organizations, various government agencies (e.g., Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Human Rights Commission, etc.) have the authority to review our files and interview our staff as part of their mandates. In these circumstances, we may consult with professionals (e.g. lawyers, accountants) who will investigate the matter and report back to us.
Clients or other individuals we deal with may have questions about their services they received. We also provide ongoing services for many of our clients over a period of months or years for which previous records are helpful. We retain our client information for a minimum of fifteen years after the last contact to enable us to respond to questions and provide these services (the Ontario Association of Architects also requires us to retain our client records).
If Di Maio Design Associates | Architect Inc. or its assets were to be sold, the purchaser would want to conduct a “due diligence” review of the firm’s records to ensure that it is a viable business that has been honestly portrayed to the purchaser. This due diligence may involve some review of our accounting and service files. The purchaser would not be able to remove or record personal information. Before being provided access to the files, the purchaser must provide a written promise to keep all personal information confidnetial. Only reputable purchasers who have already agreed to by the organization’s business or its assets would be provided access to personal information, and only for the purpose of completing they’re due diligence search prior to closing the purchase.
16. You can choose not to be part of some of these related or secondary purposes (e.g., by declining special offers and promotions, by paying for your services in advance). We do not, however, have much choice about some of these related or secondary purposes (e.g., external regulation).
PROTECTING PERSONAL INFORMATION
17. We understand the importance of protecting personal information. For that reason, we have taken the following steps:
Paper information is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area.
Electronic hardware is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restriced area at all times. In addition, passwords are used on computers. All of our cell phones are digital, which signals are more difficult to intercept (however, we still are careful on cell phones because sometimes they switch over to an analog service).
Paper information is transmitted through sealed, addressed envelopes or boxes by reputable companies.
Electronic information is transmitted either through a direct line or is anonymized or encrypted.
External consultants and agencies with access to personal information must provide us with appropiate privacy assurances.
RETENTION AND DESTRUCTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
18. We need to retain personal information for some time to ensure that we can answer any questions your might have about the services provided and for our own accountability to external regulatory bodies. However, we do not want to keep personal information too long in order to protect your privacy.
19. We keep our client files for about fifteen years. Our client and contact directories are much more difficult to systematically destroy, so we remove such information when we can if it does not appear that we will be contacting you again. However, if you ask, we will remove such contact information right away. We keep any personal information relating to our general correspondence with people who are not our clients, newsletters, seminars and marketing activities for about two years after the newsletter ceases publication or a seminar or marketing activity is over.
20. We destroy paper files containing personal information by shredding. We destroy electronic information by delting it and, when the hardware is discarded, we ensure that the drive is physicallly destroyed. Alternatively, we may send some or all of the client file to our client.
YOU CAN LOOK AT YOUR INFORMATION
21. With some exception, you have the right to see what personal information we hold about you. Often, all you have to do is ask. We can help you identify what records we might have about you. We will also try to help you understand information you do not understand (e.g., short forms, technical language, etc.). We will need to confirm your identity, if we do not know you, before providing you sith this access. We reserve the right to charge a nominal fee for such requests.
22. If there is a problem, we may ask you to put your request in writing. If we cannot give you access, we will tell you within 30 days if at all possible and tell you the reson, as best we can, as to why we cannot give you access.
23. If you believe there is a mistake in the information, you have the right to ask for it to be corrected. This applies to factual informatino and not to any professional opinions we may have formed. We may ask you to provide documentation that our files are wrong. Where we agree that we have made a mistake, we will make the correction and notify anyone to whom we sent this information. If we do not agree that we have make a mistake, we will still agree to include in our file a brief statement from you on the point and we will forward that statement to anone else who received the earlier information.
IF YOU SHOULD HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CONTACT:
Michele R. Di Maio, Information Officer
1674 Ottawa Street, Windsor, Ontario, N8Y 1R1
T. 519.945.8663 E. firstname.lastname@example.org
He will attempt to answer any questions or concerns you might have.
24. If you wish to make a formal complaint about our privacy practices, you may make it in writing to Michele R. Di Maio. He will acknowledge receipt of your complaint; ensure that it is investigated promptly and that you are provided with a formal decision and reasons in writing.
25. THis policy is made under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. It is a complex Act and provides some additional exceptions to the privacy principals that are too detailed to set our here. There are some rare exceptions to the commitments set our above.
26. For more general inquires, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Canada oversees the administration of the privacy legislation in the private sector.