Westward recognizes the importance of safeguarding the personal information provided to us. We are subject to British Columbia’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), which sets out rules for how organizations collect, use and disclose personal information, and to similar legislation in other provinces. A summary of what is covered by PIPA can be found here.
Collection of Personal Information
In order to provide high quality financial planning services, we need to collect a broad range of personal information about our clients and prospective clients.
We collect personal information from our clients and prospective clients directly. We also collect personal information from other parties involved with our clients and prospective clients, such as from accountants, lawyers, employers, hospitals, doctors and other relevant advisors.
We also collect personal information from, and about, employees and potential employees, for various purposes including determining appropriate levels of compensation, evaluating performance and administering payroll and benefits.
The personal information we collect may include sensitive financial or health-related information.
We collect personal information in a variety of ways: in writing, in person, on the telephone, through our website, and by other electronic communication.
Use and Disclosure of Personal Information
The personal information we collect is used for the purpose of advancing our clients’ financial planning interests. We will only use or disclose clients’ personal information for this purpose, unless the client has provided additional consent or the use or disclosure is otherwise permitted by law.
We disclose personal information to the suppliers of financial products that we broker.
We may disclose personal information to clients’ trusted financial advisors whom the client has previously authorised to disclose personal information to us, such as accountants, in certain circumstances to properly assess and enhance a client’s financial situation and determine the best insurance solution for the client.
Disclosure of personal information may take place in situations permitted under British Columbia or Federal legislation. The disclosure may be required by law or by order of a Court or tribunal.
In the case of our employees, we disclose personal information to payroll administrators and third party benefit suppliers when necessary for the administration of payroll and benefits. We take reasonable contractual steps to ensure that third parties to whom we may disclose personal information provide a comparable level of personal information protection.
Within reasonable legal limits, we collect, use and disclose personal information only with the consent of the person involved. In certain circumstances, privacy legislation authorizes the collection, use or disclosure of personal information without the consent of the individual such as to respond to emergencies or where obtaining consent would be similarly unnecessary or inappropriate.
Westward operates a website. Our internet service provider may make a record of the individuals who visit our site and log the following information for statistical purposes: internet address, domain name, date and time of visit to the website, pages and documents downloaded, previous website visited and type of browser used. This information is only used for statistical and website development purposes. If you visit our website, you do so voluntarily and are deemed to consent to our collection of your personal information as specified in this paragraph.
Subject to reasonable and lawful conditions, an individual may withdraw or vary consent for our collection, use, and disclosure of his or her personal information at any time with prior written notice to us.
Personal employee information is information relating to an individual who is an employee (including those who work under contract, students and volunteers) or a potential employee and which is collected, used, or disclosed for the purposes of establishing, managing or terminating an employment relationship. Under provincial privacy legislation, organizations have broader rights to collect, use, and disclose personal employee information without the consent of the individual.
Nevertheless, Westward, in its sole discretion, may seek the consent of its employees for the collection, use, and disclosure of sensitive personal employee information.
Security of Personal Information
Our employees and contractors are trained to appreciate the importance of privacy and confidentiality of personal information.
In order to provide reasonable security for personal information which is in electronic form, we implement administrative and technological safeguards to prevent unauthorized access to the firm’s network and data storage systems.
Retention of Personal Information
Privacy legislation stipulates that personal information need not be retained longer than is reasonably necessary.
Westward will retain the personal information of former clients and prospective clients for at least one year and destroy it when it is no longer reasonably necessary to support decisions affecting the individual or no longer relevant for the purpose of advancing the individual’s financial planning interests, or no longer relevant for other legal or business purposes.
We will retain our employees’ personal information for at least seven (7) years after they leave our employment.
Under privacy legislation, individuals have a right of access to records containing their personal information (subject to certain restrictions). Access requests for personal information are to be directed to the firm’s Privacy Officer, Grant Twitchett. Contact information for the Privacy Officer is provided below.
All access requests are to be in writing and shall set out in sufficient detail the scope of the request.
If there is an error or omission in personal information in our custody or under our control for which a request for correction has been received, we will, subject to legal limitations, correct the information as soon as reasonably possible or annotate it with the correction that was requested but not made.
The Privacy Officer will assist the individual with the access request and respond in a timely manner, advising whether access to the requested records will be granted, and explaining the reasons for the refusal, if any part of the access request is refused. The Privacy Officer will also inform the applicant that he or she may ask the Information and Privacy Commissioner to review the decision and provide their contact information.
Changes to Policy
We reserve the right to change this policy at any time. Please review this policy statement from time to time to ensure that you are aware of and accept any changes that have been made.
Grant Twitchett, Privacy Officer
Westward Advisors Ltd.
#300 - 1090 Homer Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 2W9
The LifeStep Process is a registered trademark of Westward Advisors Ltd. The Discovery Process, The Strategy Builder, The Strategic Implementor and The Performance Optimizer are trademarks of Westward Advisors Ltd. All other trademarks belong to the respective owners.
Westward’s website includes a client and advisor portal that gives each client and his or her acknowledged advisor(s) access to their LifeStep Process plan documents.
Westward’s portal is hosted on a dedicated server and uses industry standard Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption technology (128-bit), to protect information. All of our online services go through a vigorous security review and testing to ensure information is protected.
Westward cannot ensure the privacy and authenticity of any information or instructions you send to us or that we send to you over the Internet. Email over the Internet is not a secure medium and privacy cannot be assured. Email communication is not confidential, is subject to possible interception or loss, and is also subject to possible alteration. Westward is not responsible for and will not be liable for any loss or damages in connection with an email containing personal or confidential information sent by you to Westward, or an email by Westward to you at your request.
Each client and advisor who uses the portal is provided with a unique username and password. Users are asked to enter a new password upon initial login to the portal. A portal user is solely responsible for maintaining the security of his/her User ID and password and ensuring that he/she is the only person using the User ID and password. Users agree not to disclose their User ID and password to any other person. Westward is not responsible for the unauthorized use of the portal by any other person with your User ID or password.
Portal Access Termination
Portal users acknowledge and agree that Westward may restrict, suspend or terminate their access to, and use of, all or any part of this website, including the client and advisor portal, with or without cause and without prior notice.
Clients are asked to review the list of advisors who have access to their plan documents. The list of advisors is posted at the bottom of each client portal page. Clients are asked to notify us immediately either by phone or email if any of the advisors who have access to their plan documents should be denied access.