9.10 Methods of File Destruction - Confidentiality
Confidentiality should be a major concern when you finally decide to dispose of a file. The Code of Conduct requires that lawyers hold information concerning clients’ businesses and affairs in strict confidence (Rule 3.3-1) which survives the professional relationship and therefore imposes confidentiality obligations at file destruction. As well, lawyers’ files may be subject to the Personal Information Protection Act R.S.A. 2000 c.P-5, the Health Information Act R.S.A. 2000 c. H-5 and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act R.S.A. 2000 c. F-25.
You should create firm policies for the disposal of materials within the office, and review them with any outside shredding or recycling suppliers that you retain so that you can ensure that confidentiality is not breached during file destruction. From time to time, all lawyers and staff within your firm should be reminded of the obligation to safeguard client information and the firm’s policies in that regard.