Information Technology & Data Privacy

There’s a lot riding on your technology projects – whether it is a system upgrade, complete overhaul or major acquisition. Leading corporations throughout Canada and internationally choose Cassels for closing sophisticated transactions and staying on the right side of complex regulations.

Cassels counsels both public and private clients in all sectors of the economy who develop, distribute, use or acquire technology. These include financial service institutions, significant software vendors, major retailers, e-commerce companies, post-secondary educational institutions and hospitals.  Our services include:

  • Licences, contracts, technology transfer and other agreements related to software, hardware and information systems generally
  • Technology aspects of commercial transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, distribution agreements, joint ventures, strategic alliances
  • Financing of new ventures
  • Internet and e-business advice, from software development to disclaimers to cross jurisdictional matters
  • Advice on and creation of appropriate documentation
  • Employment agreements, structure of option plans to protect ownership of technology
  • Dispute resolution related to use or ownership of technology
  • New legal developments, such as the new government initiatives in the area of privacy of personal information

Representative Work

Our strength is crafting commercial licensing, outsourcing, joint venture and other technology distribution agreements.  Examples of representative transactions in which we have been involved include:

  • When a technology client needed to drive down the cost of a deal, it came with a price: our lawyers had just 24 hours to wrap up the legal side of things — we boiled matters down to their essentials, focused on the big-risk items and successfully negotiated seven complex documents in one day, closing the deal on time and coming through for the client
  • A provider of radio and television ratings was considering a joint venture with the leading provider of television audience measurement and related services worldwide — one of the members of our team advised the company about information technology aspects of the deal, creating a single consistent measurement system for the television industry in Canada
  • In a transaction valued at approximately $310 million, a major multi-national insurance company got the advice it needed on information technology during its acquisition of an insurance company
  • A leading global business communications corporation needed help during its acquisition of a premier developer of embedded, peer-to-peer call-processing software — a member of our team advised on intellectual property and information and technology issues (the deal closed for $46 million)

In addition, our technology lawyers have drafted and negotiated the system acquisition documentation for digital diagnostic imaging systems for several Ontario hospitals, including the negotiation of a multi-hospital wide area network equipment lease and bandwidth supply agreement.

Data Privacy

Canada has had municipal, provincial and federal public-sector privacy and freedom of information legislation in place for some time. Prompted by public opinion and developments in other jurisdictions such as the European Union, Canada enacted federal privacy legislation known as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) to cover the private sector. Today, PIPEDA applies in all jurisdictions in Canada. As well, several provinces have enacted similar privacy legislation to govern the treatment of personal information within provincial borders.

At Cassels, we help clients through the myriad of laws and regulations that may apply to them in protecting privacy in electronic data. Some clients we have assisted recently in the area of privacy law include:

  • Retailers with stores in all provinces and territories
  • Pharmaceutical companies and medical device/technology companies
  • Canadian universities
  • Hospitals and health-care institutions
  • Non-profit organizations, including charitable foundations
  • E-commerce companies
  • Call-centre service providers
  • Insurance companies and brokerages

We have the expertise to help clients understand their privacy obligations. Our support includes:

  • Commenting on proposed government privacy laws and regulations
  • Explaining privacy requirements to boards and senior management as well as to the staff that will be implementing the policies related to privacy compliance
  • Conducting audits to assess how an organization collects, uses, retains and discloses personal information, and what consents are needed from individuals to allow the organization to continue these practices
  • Drafting contractual agreements with detailed privacy and security requirements
  • Drafting consent forms for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information
  • Developing workable privacy policies that front-line employees can understand and observe, and helping develop training programs to convey the privacy policy requirements to staff at all levels
  • Designing systems and procedures for clients to meet requirements of federal and provincial regulations
  • Creating procedures to monitor enforcement of privacy policies
  • Assisting Canadian companies with extraterritorial compliance in major markets such as the United States and the European Union
  • Interpreting Canadian privacy rules for U.S. and other foreign companies operating here
  • Providing updates on new privacy trends and advising on cybersecurity issues
  • Advising on government and regulatory affairs involving privacy issues
  • Assisting our clients who possess sensitive personal health information to understand how multiple laws that deal with the privacy and confidentiality of personal health information interact
  • Representing clients in disputes involving privacy and confidentiality