December 2012 Revised
Privacy of personal information is an important principle at Ellis Locke & Associates. We are committed to collecting, using and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the human resource consulting 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?
Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. Personal information includes information that relates to: an individual’s personal characteristics (e.g., gender, age, income, home address or phone number, ethnic background, family status); health (e.g., health history, health conditions, health services received by them); or, activities and views (e.g., religion, politics, opinions expressed by an individual, an opinion or evaluation of an individual). Personal information is different from business information (e.g., an individual’s business address and telephone number). This is not protected by privacy legislation.
Who We Are
Ellis Locke & Associates is made up of a number of full-time and part-time HR consultants and support staff. We also use some external HR consultants who may, in the course of their duties, have access to personal information we hold. Other peripheral agencies include computer consultants, office security and maintenance, bookkeepers and accountants, temporary workers to cover holidays, credit card companies, website managers, cleaners and lawyers. We restrict their access to any personal information we hold as much as is reasonably possible. We also have their assurance that they follow appropriate privacy principles. Ellis Locke & Associates provides its services to external organizations. Employees and/or external contractors from these organizations who are directly involved in the project and have a need to know will also have access to the personal information that we hold.
Collecting Personal Information: Primary Purposes
About Clients and Candidates
Ellis Locke & Associates collects, uses and discloses personal information in order to serve our clients and the individuals presented to us by our clients. Along with contact information, we also collect information about an individual’s work history and habits including things the individual has said and done that pertain to their work performance. In addition, we may collect data based on ability and personality testing. For our clients, the primary purpose for collecting personal information is to provide data that they will use for making hiring, promotion, career development, and other legitimate human resource decisions. This information will also be provided to the individual(s) involved for personal development purposes.
A second primary purpose is to obtain home contact information so that we can contact the individual directly in order to arrange interviews, send homework packages, etc.
A third primary purpose might be to collect personal information from third parties about an individual’s work performance so that we can use the third party’s feedback to better understand the performance issues of the individual in question. Some or all of this information may or may not be shared with the client organization and/or the individual, depending on the arrangements made between the individual, the organization and Ellis Locke & Associates.
About Members of the General Public
For members of the general public, our primary purposes for collecting personal information are to provide notice of special events (e.g., a seminar or conference) or to make them aware of Ellis Locke & Associates’ services in general. For example, while we try to use work contact information where possible, we might collect home addresses, fax numbers and email addresses. We try to obtain consent before using any such personal information, but where this is not, for any reason, possible, we will, upon request, immediately remove any personal information from our distribution list.
On our website we only collect, with the exception of cookies, the personal information you provide and only use that information for the purpose for which you gave it to us (e.g., to respond to your email message). Cookies are only used to help you navigate our website and are not used to monitor you.
About Contract Staff
For people who are contracted to do work for us (e.g., subcontractors, temporary workers), 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 out pay cheques, year-end tax receipts, etc). Examples of the type of personal information we collect for those purposes include home addresses and telephone numbers. It is rare for us to collect such information without prior consent, but it might happen in the case of a health emergency or to investigate a possible breach of law. If contract staff, volunteers or students wish a letter of reference or an evaluation, we will collect information about their work-related performance and provide a report as authorized by them.
Collecting Personal Information: Related and Secondary Purposes
Like most organizations, we also collect, use and disclose information for purposes related to or secondary to our primary purposes. The most common examples of our related and secondary purposes are as follows:
- To invoice for goods or services that were not paid for at the time, to process credit card payments or to collect unpaid accounts.
- To advise individuals that their product or service may need to be reviewed or updated (e.g., the next round of a 360 degree feedback or high potential assessment program).
- To advise individuals and client organizations of special events or opportunities (e.g., a seminar, development of a new service, arrival of a new product) that we have available.
- We review client and other files for the purpose of ensuring that we provide high-quality services, including assessing the performance of our staff. In addition, external consultants (e.g., auditors, lawyers, practice consultants, voluntary accreditation programs, IT professionals) may on our behalf do audits and continuing quality improvement reviews of our services, including reviewing client files and interviewing our staff.
- Some of our HR consultants may be registered psychologists and as such, may be regulated by the Ontario Psychological Association. This organization may, from time to time, inspect our records and interview our staff as a part of their regulatory activities in the public interest. In addition, as professionals, we will report serious misconduct, incompetence or incapacity of other practitioners, whether they belong to other organizations or our own. Also, our organization believes that it should report information suggesting serious illegal behaviour to the authorities. External regulators have their own strict privacy obligations. Sometimes these reports include personal information about our clients, or other individuals, to support the concern (e.g., improper services). 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 a 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.
- The cost of most goods/services provided by Ellis Locke & Associates is paid for by the client organization requesting the service. As such, they often have to direct us to collect and disclose to them certain information in order to demonstrate entitlement to the payments.
- Clients or other individuals we deal with may have questions about our goods or services after they have been received. We also provide ongoing services for many of our clients over a period of months or years for which our previous records are helpful. We retain our client information for a minimum of seven years after the last contact to enable us to respond to those questions and provide these services.
- If Ellis Locke & Associates or its assets were to be sold, the purchaser would want to conduct a “due diligence” review of the company’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 confidential. Only reputable purchasers who have already agreed to buy the organization’s business or its assets would be provided access to personal information, and only for the purpose of completing their due diligence search prior to closing the purchase.
You can choose not to be a part of some of these related or secondary purposes (e.g., by declining to receive notice of special events or opportunities or by paying for your services in advance). However, some of these related or secondary purposes (e.g., external regulation) are required by law.
Protecting Personal Information
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; or shredded when no longer needed
- Electronic hardware containing personal information is supervised at all times or locked away. When staff leave terminals, they will ensure that no personal information is left on screen. Computers and laptops are all password-protected
- All cell phones are digital as these signals are more difficult to intercept.
- Paper information is transmitted by reputable companies through sealed, addressed envelopes or boxes.
- Electronic information is transmitted either through a direct line or has identifiers removed, is encrypted and/or is password-protected.
- All fax correspondence contains a privacy clause. Fax machines for both recipient and sender are securely located and there is no basis to expect otherwise.
Retention and Destruction of Personal Information
We need to retain personal information related to executive assessment or 360 degree feedback for some time to ensure that we can answer any questions that may arise 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.
We keep our client files for approximately seven 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 requested, we will remove such contact information right away. We keep any personal information relating to our general correspondence (i.e., with people who are not clients), newsletters, seminars, and marketing activities for about six months after the newsletter ceases publication or a seminar or marketing activity is over.
We destroy paper files containing personal information by shredding. We destroy electronic information by deleting it and, when the hardware is discarded, we ensure that the hard drive is physically destroyed.
You Can Look At Your Information
With only a few exceptions, 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 explain any 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 with this access. We reserve the right to charge a nominal fee for such requests.
Any issues or problems must be addressed in writing. If we cannot give you access, we will tell you within 30 days if at all possible and tell you the reason, as best we can, as to why we cannot give you access.
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 information and not to any professional opinions we may have formed. We may ask you to provide documentation that the information contained in our files is incorrect. Where we agree, we will make the correction and notify anyone to whom we sent this information. If we do not agree that a mistake has been made, we will include a brief statement from you on the point in your file, and we will forward that statement to anyone else who received the earlier information.
Do you Have a Question?
Our Information Officer is:
ELLIS LOCKE & ASSOCIATES
3100 Steeles Avenue East
Diane will attempt to answer any questions or concerns you might have.
If you wish to make a formal complaint about our privacy practices, you may make it in writing to our Information Officer. The Info Officer will acknowledge receipt of your complaint, ensure that it is investigated promptly and provide you with a detailed formal written response.
If you have a concern about the professionalism or competence of our services, or the mental or physical capacity of any of our professional staff we would ask that you discuss those concerns with our Info Officer at your earliest convenience.
This policy is made under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. The Act is quite complex and provides some additional exceptions to the privacy principles that are too detailed to set out here. There are some rare exceptions to the commitments set out above. Please consult the Act for further info.
For more general inquiries, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Canada oversees the administration of the privacy legislation in the private sector. The Commissioner also acts as an ombudsman for privacy disputes. The Information and Privacy Commissioner can be reached at:
112 Kent Street Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1H3
Phone (613) 995-8210 | 800-282-1376 | Fax (613) 947-6850 | TTY (613) 992-9190