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Privacy Policy

1.0 Principles:

1.1 Principle 1 -- Accountability

Polaris Financial Inc. is responsible for personal information under its control and shall designate an individual or individuals (see 2.0 below) who are accountable for the organization's compliance with the following principles.

1.1.1 Accountability for the organization's compliance with the principles rests with the designated individual(s), even though other individuals within the organization may be responsible for the day-today collection and processing of personal information. In addition, other individuals within the organization may be delegated to act on behalf of the designated individual(s).

1.1.2 The identity of the individual(s) designated by the organization to oversee the organization's compliance with the principles shall be made known upon request. It is also available on the Polaris Financial web site (www.polarisfinancial.ca).

1.1.3 Polaris Financial is responsible for personal information in its possession or custody, including information that has been transferred to a third party for processing. Polaris Financial uses contractual or other means to provide a comparable level of protection while the information is being processed by a third party.

1.1.4 Polaris Financial has implemented policies and practices to give effect to the principles, including
(a) implementing procedures to protect personal information;
(b) establishing procedures to receive and respond to complaints and inquiries;
(c) training staff and communicating to staff information about the organization's policies and practices; and
(d) developing information to explain the organization's policies and procedures.

1.2 Principle 2 -- Identifying Purposes

The purposes for which personal information is collected shall be identified by the Polaris Financial at or before the time the information is collected.

1.2.1 Polaris Financial shall document the purposes for which personal information is collected in order to comply with the Openness principle (Clause 1.8) and the Individual Access principle (Clause 1.9).

1.2.2 Identifying the purposes for which personal information is collected at or before the time of collection will allow Polaris Financial to determine the information it needs to collect to fulfill these purposes. The Limiting Collection principle (Clause 1.4) requires Polaris Financial to collect only that information necessary for the purposes that have been identified.

1.2.3 The identified purposes should be specified at or before the time of collection to the individual from whom the personal information is collected. Depending upon the way in which the information is collected, this can be done orally or in writing. An application form, for example, may give notice of the purposes.

1.2.4 When personal information that has been collected is to be used for a purpose not previously identified, the new purpose shall be identified prior to use. Unless the new purpose is required by law, the consent of the individual is required before information can be used for that purpose. For an elaboration on consent, please refer to the Consent principle (Clause 1.3).

1.2.5 Persons collecting personal information should be able to explain to individuals the purposes for which the information is being collected.

1.2.6 This principle is linked closely to the Limiting Collection principle (Clause 1.4) and the Limiting Use, Disclosure, and Retention principle (Clause 1.5).

1.3 Principle 3 -- Consent

The knowledge and consent of the individual are required for the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information, except where inappropriate.
Note: In certain circumstances personal information can be collected, used, or disclosed without the knowledge and consent of the individual. For example, legal, medical, or security reasons may make it impossible or impractical to seek consent. When information is being collected for the detection and prevention of fraud or for law enforcement, seeking the consent of the individual might defeat the purpose of collecting the information. Seeking consent may be impossible or inappropriate when the individual is a minor, seriously ill, or mentally incapacitated.

1.3.1 Consent is required for the collection of personal information and the subsequent use or disclosure of this information. Typically, Polaris Financial will seek consent for the use or disclosure of the information at the time of collection. In certain circumstances, consent with respect to use or disclosure may be sought after the information has been collected but before use (for example, when an organization wants to use information for a purpose not previously identified).

1.3.2 The principle requires "knowledge and consent". Polaris Financial will make a reasonable effort to ensure that the individual is advised of the purposes for which the information will be used. To make the consent meaningful, the purposes must be stated in such a manner that the individual can reasonably understand how the information will be used or disclosed.

1.3.3 Polaris Financial will not, as a condition of the supply of a product or service, require an individual to consent to the collection, use, or disclosure of information beyond that required to fulfill the explicitly specified, and legitimate purposes.

1.3.4 The form of the consent sought by Polaris Financial may vary, depending upon the circumstances and the type of information. In determining the form of consent to use, Polaris Financial will take into account the sensitivity of the information. Although some information (for example, medical records and income records) is almost always considered to be sensitive, any information can be sensitive, depending on the context.

1.3.5 In obtaining consent, the reasonable expectations of the individual are also relevant. For example, a client of Polaris Financial should expect that Polaris Financial, in addition to using the individual's name and address for mailing and billing purposes, would also contact the individual to participate in client appreciation events. In this case, the organization can assume that the individual's request constitutes consent for such purposes. Consent shall not be obtained through deception.

1.3.6 The way in which Polaris Financial seeks consent may vary, depending on the circumstances and the type of information collected. Polaris Financial will generally seek express consent when the information is likely to be considered sensitive. Implied consent would generally be appropriate when the information is less sensitive. Consent can also be given by an authorized representative (such as a legal guardian or a person having power of attorney).

1.3.7 Individuals can give consent in many ways. For example:
(a) an application form may be used to seek consent, collect information, and inform the individual of the use that will be made of the information. By completing and signing the form, the individual is giving consent to the collection and the specified uses;
(b) a checkoff box may be used to allow individuals to request that their names and addresses not be given to other organizations. Individuals who do not check the box are assumed to consent to the transfer of this information to third parties;
(c) consent may be given orally when information is collected over the telephone; or
(d) consent may be given at the time that individuals use a product or service.


1.3.8 An individual may withdraw consent at any time, subject to legal or contractual restrictions and reasonable notice. Polaris Financial shall inform the individual of the implications of such withdrawal. 

1.4 Principle 4 -- Limiting Collection

The collection of personal information shall be limited to that which is necessary for the purposes identified Polaris Financial. Information shall be collected by fair and lawful means.

1.4.1 Polaris Financial will not collect personal information indiscriminately. Both the amount and the type of information collected shall be limited to that which is necessary to fulfill the purposes identified. Polaris Financial will specify the type of information collected as part of their information-handling policies and practices, in accordance with the Openness principle (Clause 1.8).

1.4.2 This principle is linked closely to the Identifying Purposes principle (Clause 1.2) and the Consent principle (Clause 1.3).

 1.5 Principle 5 -- Limiting Use, Disclosure, and Retention

Personal information shall not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by law. Personal information shall be retained only as long as necessary for the fulfillment of those purposes.

1.5.1 When using personal information for a new purpose, Polaris Financial shall document this purpose (see Clause 1.2.1).

1.5.2 Polaris Financial has developed guidelines and implemented procedures with respect to the retention of personal information. These guidelines include minimum and maximum retention periods. Personal information that has been used to make a decision about an individual shall be retained long enough to allow the individual access to the information after the decision has been made. Polaris Financial may be subject to legislative requirements with respect to retention periods.

1.5.3 Personal information that is no longer required to fulfill the identified purposes should be destroyed, erased, or made anonymous. Polaris Financial has developed guidelines and implemented procedures to govern the destruction of personal information.

1.5.4 This principle is closely linked to the Consent principle (Clause 1.3), the Identifying Purposes principle (Clause 4.2), and the Individual Access principle (Clause 1.9).

1.6 Principle 6 -- Accuracy

Personal information shall be as accurate, complete, and up-to-date as is necessary for the purposes for which it is to be used.

1.6.1 The extent to which personal information shall be accurate, complete, and up-to-date will depend upon the use of the information, taking into account the interests of the individual. Information shall be sufficiently accurate, complete, and up-to-date to minimize the possibility that inappropriate information may be used to make a decision about the individual.

1.6.2 Polaris Financial will not routinely update personal information, unless such a process is necessary to fulfill the purposes for which the information was collected.

1.6.3 Personal information that is used on an ongoing basis, including information that is disclosed to third parties, should generally be accurate and up-to-date, unless limits to the requirement for accuracy are clearly set out.

1.7 Principle 7 -- Safeguards

Personal information shall be protected by security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information.

1.7.1 The security safeguards shall protect personal information against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use, or modification. Polaris Financial will protect personal information regardless of the format in which it is held.

1.7.2 The nature of the safeguards will vary depending on the sensitivity of the information that has been collected, the amount, distribution, and format of the information, and the method of storage. More sensitive information should be safeguarded by a higher level of protection. The concept of sensitivity is discussed in Clause 1.3.4.

1.7.3 The methods of protection include
(a) physical measures, for example, locked filing cabinets and restricted access to offices;
(b) organizational measures, for example, security clearances and limiting access on a "need-to-know" basis; and
(c) technological measures, for example, the use of passwords and encryption.

1.7.4 Polaris Financial makes their employees aware of the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of personal information.

1.7.5 Care shall be used in the disposal or destruction of personal information, to prevent unauthorized parties from gaining access to the information (see Clause 1.5.3).

1.8 Principle 8 -- Openness

Polaris Financial will make readily available to individuals specific information about its policies and
practices relating to the management of personal information.

1.8.1 Polaris Financial is open about its policies and practices with respect to the management of personal information. Individuals shall be able to acquire information about Polaris Financial policies and practices without unreasonable effort. This information shall be made available in a form that is generally understandable. Individuals can have access to this information by visiting the Polaris Financial web-site (www.polarisfinancial.ca) or by contacting any employee.

1.8.2 The information made available shall include
(a) the name or title, and the address, of the person who is accountable for the organization's policies and practices and to whom complaints or inquiries can be forwarded;
(b) the means of gaining access to personal information held by the organization;
(c) a description of the type of personal information held by the organization, including a general account of its use;
(d) a copy of any brochures or other information that explain the organization's policies, standards, or codes; and
(e) what personal information is made available to related organizations (e.g., subsidiaries, custodian, reporting provider).

1.8.3 Polaris Financial may make information on its policies and practices available in a variety of ways. For example, Polaris Financial may choose to make brochures available in its place of business, mail information to its customers, provide online access (www.polarisfinancial.ca), or establish a toll-free telephone number (877-755-4004).

1.9 Principle 9 -- Individual Access 

Upon request, an individual shall be informed of the existence, use, and disclosure of his or her personal information and shall be given access to that information. An individual shall be able to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate.

Note: In certain situations, Polaris Financial may not be able to provide access to all the personal information it holds about an individual. Exceptions to the access requirement are limited and specific. The reasons for denying access will be provided to the individual upon request. Exceptions may include information that is prohibitively costly to provide, information that contains references to other individuals, information that cannot be disclosed for legal, security, or commercial proprietary reasons, and information that is subject to solicitor-client or litigation privilege.

1.9.1 Upon request, Polaris Financial will inform an individual whether or not the organization holds personal information about the individual. Polaris Financial will indicate the source of this information. Polaris Financial will allow the individual access to this information and will provide an account of the use that has been made or is being made of this information and an account of the third parties to which it has been disclosed.

1.9.2 An individual may be required to provide sufficient information to permit an organization to provide an account of the existence, use, and disclosure of personal information. The information provided shall only be used for this purpose.

1.9.3 In providing an account of third parties to which it has disclosed personal information about an individual, Polaris Financial will attempt to be as specific as possible. When it is not possible to provide a list of the organizations to which it has actually disclosed information about an individual, Polaris Financial will provide a list of organizations to which it may have disclosed information about the individual.

1.9.4 Polaris Financial will respond to an individual's request within a reasonable time and at minimal or no cost to the individual. The requested information shall be provided or made available in a form that is generally understandable. For example, if Polaris Financial uses abbreviations or codes to record information, an explanation shall be provided.

1.9.5 When an individual successfully demonstrates the inaccuracy or incompleteness of personal information, Polaris Financial will amend the information as required. Depending upon the nature of the information challenged, amendment involves the correction, deletion, or addition of information. Where appropriate, the amended information shall be transmitted to third parties having access to the information in question.

1.9.6 When a challenge is not resolved to the satisfaction of the individual, the substance of the unresolved challenge shall be recorded by Polaris Financial. When appropriate, the existence of the unresolved challenge shall be transmitted to third parties having access to the information in question.

1.10 Principle 10 -- Challenging Compliance

An individual shall be able to address a challenge concerning compliance with the above principles to
the designated individual or individuals accountable for Polaris Financial compliance.

1.10.1 The individual accountable for an organization's compliance is discussed in Clause 1.1.1.

1.10.2 Polaris Financial will put procedures in place to receive and respond to complaints or inquiries about their policies and practices relating to the handling of personal information. The complaint procedures should be easily accessible and simple to use.

1.10.3 Polaris Financial will inform individuals who make inquiries or lodge complaints of the existence of relevant complaint procedures.

1.10.4 Polaris Financial will investigate all complaints. If a complaint is found to be justified, the organization will take appropriate measures, including, if necessary, amending its policies and practices.

2.0 Designated Privacy Officer

The designated Privacy Officer at Polaris Financial is Jim Steel. Any concern, request or inquiry should be made in writing or e-mail to:

Jim Steel, Privacy Officer
Polaris Financial Inc.
343 Preston Street
11th Floor
Ottawa ON K1S 1N4

e-mail: jimsteel@polarisfinancial.ca
telephone: 613-755-4004
toll free: 877-755-4004