Privacy of personal information is an important principle to Totum Life Science. 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?
Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. Personal information includes 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., health history, health conditions, health services received by them) or their activities and views (e.g., 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 business address and telephone number), which is not protected by privacy legislation.
WHO WE ARE
Our organization, Totum Life Science Inc. owned by Tim and Stacy Irvine, includes at the time of writing seven chiropractors, five physiotherapists, seven massage therapists, one naturopath, 2 holistic nutritionists, one professional life coach, twenty personal trainers and six 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, office security and maintenance, bookkeepers and accountants, temporary workers, credit card companies, website managers, cleaners and legal representation. 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.
WE COLLECT PERSONAL INFORMATION: PRIMARY PURPOSES
Like all health care clinics, we collect, use and disclose personal information in order to serve our clients. For our clients, the primary purpose for collecting personal information is to provide chiropractic, physiotherapy, nutrition, naturopathic, training or massage therapy treatment. For example, we collect information about a client’s health history, including their family history, physical condition and function and social situation in order to help us assess what their health needs are, to advise them of their options and then to provide the health care they choose to have. A second purpose is to obtain a baseline of health and social information so that in providing ongoing health services we can identify changes that are occurring over time. It would be rare for us to collect such information without the client’s express consent, but this might occur in an emergency (e.g. the client is unconscious). 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 Totum Life Science’s services in general or our clinics in particular. 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 you gave it to us (e.g. to respond to your email message, to register for a seminar, to subscribe to our newsletter). Cookies are only used to help you navigate our website and are not used to monitor you.
For people who are contracted to do work for us (e.g., temporary workers, students, volunteers), our primary purposes for collecting personal information is to ensure we can contact them in the future (e.g. for new opportunities) and for necessary work-related communication (e.g. to send paycheques, mail info regarding tax receipts). Examples of the type of personal information we collect for those purposes include home addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses. 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.
WE COLLECT 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 clients for goods and services that were not paid for at the time, to process credit card payments or to collect unpaid accounts To advise clients that their specific case should be reviewed. To advise clients and others of special events or opportunities (e.g. seminars, new services, new products) that we have available Our clinics review client files for the purpose of ensuring high quality services, including assessing the performance of our staff. Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Naturopaths and Registered Massage Therapists are regulated by their respective Colleges who may 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 service). 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 some goods and services provided by the organization to clients is paid for by third parties (e.g. WSIB, private insurance, Assistive Devices Program). These third-party payers often have your consent or legislative authority to direct us to collect and disclose to them certain information in order to demonstrate client entitlement to this funding. 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 clients’ information for a minimum of ten years after the last contact to enable us to respond to those questions and provide these services (our regulatory Colleges also require us to retain our client records). If Totum Life Science or its’ assets were to be sold, the purchaser would want to conduct a ‘due diligence’ review of the clinics’ records to ensure that it is a viable business that has 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 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 part of some of these related or secondary purposes (e.g., by declining special offers or 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
RETENTION AND DESTRUCTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION We need to retain personal information for some time to ensure that we can answer any questions you 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. We keep our client files for about 10 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 12 months after the newsletter, 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. Alternatively, we may send some or the entire client file to our client.
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 try to help you understand 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. 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 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 our files are wrong. Where we agree that we 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 made 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 anyone else who received the earlier information.
DO YOU HAVE A CONCERN?
Our Information Officer, Tim Irvine, can be reached at 416-979-2449 to address 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. 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. For more general inquiries, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada oversees the administration of the privacy legislation in the private sector.
The Commissioner also acts as a kind of ombudsman for privacy disputes. The Privacy Commissioner can be reached at: 112 KENT STREET | OTTAWA, ONTARIO | K1A 1H3 PHONE (613) 995-8210 | TOLL-FREE 1-800-282-1376 | FAX (613) 947-6850 | TTY (613) 992-9190 www.privcom.gc.ca