Privacy Policy – Virtuous Circle Counselling

Privacy of personal information is an important principle to us. We are committed to collecting, using and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the services we provide. We also try to be open and transparent as to how we handle personal information. This document describes our privacy policies.

No personal information will be communicated, directly or indirectly, to a third party without your informed and written consent. 

We understand the importance of protecting personal information. For that reason, we have taken a number of steps. 

  •  Paper information is stored either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area.
  • Electronic hardware is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area at all times. In addition, passwords are used on computers.
  • Paper information is transmitted through sealed, addressed envelopes or boxes by reputable companies (e.g., Canada Post).
  • Electronic information is transmitted either through a direct line or is anonymized or encrypted.
  • Any files being transported are required to be stored in a locked area (e.g., car trunk, carrying case with a locking mechanism).
  • Mental health practitioners and staff are trained to collect, use and disclose personal information only as necessary to fulfil their duties and in accordance with our privacy policy.
  • External consultants and agencies with access to personal information must enter into privacy agreements with us.

 

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. 

As required by our external regulatory bodies, we retain personal information for 10 years following the client’s last contact or, if the client was less than 18 years of age at the time of last contact, for 10 years following the day the client would have turned 18.

Under our general correspondence, we keep any personal information relating to people who are not clients contained in newsletters, seminars and marketing activities for six months after the newsletter ceases publication or a seminar or marketing activity is over.

To safeguard your privacy, we shred paper files containing personal information. We destroy electronic information by deleting it and when the hardware is discarded, we ensure the hard drive is physically destroyed.

 

 

What is Personal Information?

Personal information refers to information about an identifiable individual and includes information that relates to an individual’s personal characteristics (e.g., name, date of birth, home address and telephone number), their health (e.g., presenting problem, health history, health services received by the individual, social situation) or their activities and views (e.g., opinions expressed by an individual, an opinion or evaluation of an individual). Personal information is not the same as business information (e.g., an individual’s business address and telephone number), which is not protected by privacy legislation.

We use a number of consultants and agencies that may, in the course of their duties, have limited access to the personal information we hold. These consultants and agencies include bookkeepers and accountants, lawyers, office maintenance, cleaners, computer consultants, credit card companies, financial institutions, marketing personnel and website managers. We restrict their access to any personal information we hold as much as reasonably possible. We also have a confidentiality agreement with them.