Freedom Accounting Inc. Information Privacy and Protection Policy
At Freedom Accounting Inc., we respect your privacy and will ensure the accuracy, confidentiality, and security of the information you provide us. Our commitment to provide you with exceptional service requires the collection, use and disclosure of certain information. While we have always respected our client’s privacy and safeguarded their information, we have strengthened our commitment to protecting personal information as a result of British Columbia’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). The federal Governor in Council has declared the British Columbia’s PIPA is substantially similar to Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. These Acts set out the ground rules for how business organizations may collect, use and disclose personal information.
Personal Information – means information about an identifiable individual such as name, age, home address and phone number, social insurance number, marital status, income, credit history, employment information. Personal information does not include contact information (described below).
Contact information – means information that would enable an individual to be contacted at a place of business and includes name, position name or title, business telephone number, business address, business email or business fax number. Contact information is not covered by this policy or PIPA.
Privacy Officer – means the individual designated responsibility for ensuring that Freedom Accounting Inc. complies with this policy and PIPA.
Policy 1 – Collecting Personal Information
When you engage our services including obtaining information from our website, we may request that you provide certain relevant information necessary for us to provide you with the services you have requested.
We will only collect client information that is necessary to fulfill the following purposes:
- To verify identity;
- To identify client preferences;
- To understand the financial, tax and business needs of our clients;
- To open and manage an account;
- To provide tax, bookkeeping, accounting and general management services;
- To respond to Canadian Revenue Agency and other regulatory agency queries when authorized to do so;
- To ensure a high standard of service to our clients;
- To meet regulatory requirements.
Policy 2 – Consent
We will obtain client consent to collect, use or disclose personal information (except where, as noted below, we are authorized to do so without consent).
Consent can be provided orally, in writing, electronically, through an authorized representative or it can be implied where the purpose for collecting using or disclosing the personal information would be considered obvious and the client voluntarily provides personal information for that purpose.
Consent may also be implied where a client is given notice and a reasonable opportunity to opt-out of his or her personal information being used for mail-outs, the marketing of new services or products, and where the client does not opt-out.
Subject to certain exceptions (e.g., the personal information is necessary to provide the service or product, or the withdrawal of consent would frustrate the performance of a legal obligation), clients can withhold or withdraw their consent for Freedom Accounting Inc. to use their personal information in certain ways. A client’s decision to withhold or withdraw their consent to certain uses of personal information may restrict our ability to provide a particular service or product. If so, we will explain the situation to assist the client in making the decision.
We may collect, use or disclose personal information without the client’s knowledge or consent in the following limited circumstances:
- When the collection, use or disclosure of personal information is permitted or required by law;
- When we require legal advice from a lawyer;
- For the purposes of collecting a debt;
- To protect ourselves from fraud;
- To investigate an anticipated breach of an agreement or a contravention of law
Policy 3 – Using and Disclosing Personal Information
We will only use or disclose client personal information where necessary to fulfill the purposes identified at the time of collection or for a purpose reasonably related to those purposes such as to conduct client surveys in order to enhance the provision of our services and to contact our clients or those who utilize the services provided on our website about products and services that may be of interest.
We will not use or disclose client personal information for any additional purpose unless we obtain consent to do so.
We will not sell client lists or personal information to other parties.
Policy 4 – Retaining Personal Information
If we use client personal information to make a decision that directly affects the client, we will retain that personal information for at least one year so that the client has a reasonable opportunity to request access to it.
Subject to policy 4.1, we will retain client personal information only as long as necessary to fulfill the identified purposes or a legal or business purpose.
Policy 5 – Ensuring Accuracy of Personal Information
We will make reasonable efforts to ensure that client personal information is accurate and complete where it may be used to make a decision about the client or disclosed to another organization.
Clients may request correction to their personal information in order to ensure its accuracy and completeness. A request to correct personal information must be made in writing and provide sufficient detail to identify the personal information and the correction being sought.
If the personal information is demonstrated to be inaccurate or incomplete, we will correct the information as required and send the corrected information to any organization to which we disclosed the personal information in the previous year. If the correction is not made, we will note the clients’ correction request in the file.
Policy 6 – Securing Personal Information
We are committed to ensuring the security of client personal information in order to protect it from unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, copying, modification or disposal or similar risks.
The following security measures will be followed to ensure that client personal information is appropriately protected:
The use of locked filing cabinets; physically securing offices where personal information is held; the use of user IDs, passwords, encryption, firewalls; restricting employee access to personal information as appropriate (i.e., only those that need to know will have access); and contractually requiring any service providers to provide comparable security measures.
We will use appropriate security measures when destroying client’s personal information such as shredding documents and deleting electronically stored information.
We will continually review and update our security policies and controls as technology changes to ensure ongoing personal information security.
Policy 7 – Providing Clients Access to Personal Information
Clients have a right to access their personal information.
A request to access personal information must be made in writing and provide sufficient detail to identify the personal information being sought.
Upon request, we will also tell clients how we use their personal information and to whom it has been disclosed if applicable.
We will make the requested information available within 30 business days, or provide written notice of an extension where additional time is required to fulfill the request.
A minimal fee may be charged for providing access to personal information. Where a fee may apply, we will inform the client of the cost and request further direction from the client on whether or not we should proceed with the request.
If a request is refused in full or in part, we will notify the client in writing, providing the reasons for refusal and the recourse available to the client.
Policy 8 – Questions and Complaints: The Role of the Privacy Officer or designated individual
The Privacy Officer is responsible for ensuring Freedom Accounting Inc. compliance with this policy and the Personal Information Protection Act.
Clients should direct any complaints, concerns or questions regarding Freedom Accounting Inc. compliance in writing to the Privacy Officer. If the Privacy Officer is unable to resolve the concern, the client may also write to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia.
Contact information for Freedom Accounting Inc.’s Privacy Officer:
766 Hillside Ave
Victoria, BC V8T 1Z6
Contact information for the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia:
Office of the Information and Privacy
Commissioner for British Columbia
PO Box 9038, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, BC V8W 9A4
Location: 4th Floor, 947 Fort Street, Victoria BC V8V 3K3
Telephone: (250) 387-5629
Facsimile: (250) 387-1696