Federal, provincial and international legislation requires law firms to keep data protected. Learn what your law firm needs to do to keep information safe.
For Canadian law firms, there is an increasing number of legal restrictions on the collection and use of data. Knowing about the regulations and how they affect clients and the firms’ use of personal information is essential.
The rules also mean paying extra attention to data security to keep client information protected from a cyberattack.
These regulations include federal and provincial laws, while firms that have international clients must contend with new legal restrictions from the European Union and the United States.
There are two pieces of federal legislation that affect law firms:
In December 2019, prime minister Justin Trudeau went further, issuing a mandate letter that gives the Privacy Commissioner enhanced powers to create new online rights. (It also creates a Data Commissioner role who will work with large digital companies to protect personal data.) These rights include:
British Columbia’sPersonal Information Protection Act, passed in 2003, requires private businesses to obtain permission before collecting, using or disclosing personal information. Individuals have a right to access their information on demand.
The law covers incorporated and unincorporated businesses, nonprofit businesses and trusts. Noncompliance can mean fines of up to $100,000.
According to the 2018-19 Survey of Canadians on Privacy, citizens have strong feelings about privacy rights:
That sentiment is reflected in a December 2019 decision by Statistics Canada to collect banking data from 500,000 households to analyze household spending and debt.
Increasingly, jurisdictions across the world are taking steps to protect citizens regarding data privacy. Among the most wide-sweeping is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that covers European Union residents. It is similar to the federal and provincial laws, requiring businesses to provide disclosure, permissions and opt-out provisions. Several U.S. states have also passed data guidelines.
Law firms need to remain in compliance with an ever-increasing array of data privacy guidelines. At Compunet InfoTech, we provide technical solutions for law firms that help manage data, help-desk services, IT security, software support and ransomware deterrence. Learn more about our comprehensive IT solutions for law firms by contacting us today.
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