At AST privacy is protected
At AST Trust Company (Canada) (AST), an important part of our commitment to you is respect for your right to privacy. Keeping your information and affairs in strict confidence is a cornerstone of our business and an integral part of our commitment to service excellence. The range of products and services we offer continues to expand and the technology we use continues to change. But no matter how the business changes, we'll take the steps described below to protect the privacy of personal information.
Keeping that information in strict confidence is a cornerstone of our business. The range of products and services we offer continues to expand and the technology we use continues to change. But no matter how the business changes, we'll take the steps described below to protect the privacy of personal information.
Our policies and procedures, which we practice in order to protect this information, are in place across AST. In the following pages, we describe these policies and procedures. Applicable legislation provides for certain exceptions to the obligations discussed in this Privacy Statement some of which will modify our privacy practices in certain circumstances.
As further described in this statement, protecting privacy means:
- We keep your personal information in confidence.
- You have control over your information and have access to it.
- We respect privacy when we market our products and services.
This Privacy Statement applies to collection, use and disclosure and protection of personal information by AST. This Privacy Statement does not apply to information about our employees or to information that is not personal information.
Why we need information and how we use it
AST may also have custody of personal information because a corporate, business or governmental client has hired us to handle their information. A corporate client might hire us as securities transfer agent or registrar, plan or trust record keeper, plan administrator, or they might ask us to perform mailing services. Such activities may include the processing of securityholder, plan holder or unit holder transactions or payments, and recordkeeping associated with these activities (which we call in this Statement "Agent Services"). In those circumstances, AST generally acts as instructed by the organization retaining us and as required or permitted by law and in accordance with the compliance practices of our regulated industry. In the event our written contract with the corporate, business or governmental client has specific terms with respect to our collection, use and/or disclosure of personal information which are not set out in this Privacy Statement, we will perform our services under that contract in accordance with those specific terms. AST may also collect and use personal information of securityholders or other individuals connected with our corporate or business clients (for instance, officers and directors) in order to meet legal and regulatory requirements applicable to Trustee Services and Agent Services (including in Canada, the United States, and other countries). These requirements may include using personal information to identify restricted securities positions or locate lost securityholders.
AST may occasionally arrange for individuals it deals with to be contacted, for example, to conduct a survey to determine their satisfaction with our services. Participation in such surveys is voluntary and we will offer an opportunity for individuals to tell us not to contact them in the future. Surveys may be conducted with respect to any Agent Service.
AST has telephone assistance lines which support various Agent Services. When you call in to one of these lines, your call is recorded. This helps protect both you and us by providing a record of the conversation. It also helps us monitor the quality of service we offer. Certain other lines may also be recorded, for the same purposes. On such lines, the voice message for that line will include a notification that the line is recorded. If you connect directly to these lines, however, you will not hear this message. If, however, you ask, the person you are speaking with will inform you that the line is recorded.
This policy applies whether your information is collected in paper, electronic or other form. AST does not collect any personal information from visitors browsing our website, although personal information may be requested via the website if a visitor chooses to respond to online surveys, send AST an e-mail message or use one of our website tools.
Anonymous Information Collected Automatically
In general, you can visit our websites and view its content while remaining anonymous by not providing any personal information. In some cases, we may collect information about you that is not linked with an identifiable individual. Examples of this type of information include the Internet browser you are using, the type of operating system, the domain name of the website that linked you to our site, and the pages you visited while you were using the website. When collected, we use non-personally identifiable information in a non-identifying, anonymous and aggregate form to determine the overall reaction to various sections of the website, measure the effectiveness and usefulness of various pages and to improve the flow and interconnectivity of the site.
Our websites may contain links to other websites that are provided as a convenience only, and which may have different privacy policies and practices than AST's. AST has no responsibility for such third party websites, and individuals are advised to review the privacy policies of any third party websites they visit.
Information obtained in connection with providing Agent Services to our corporate or business clients, is disclosed to third parties as described below or otherwise with your consent.
For example, we may collect, use and disclose information if we:
Use another company to process information.
At times, we may use the expertise of a related, affiliated or outside company to do work involving some personal information on our behalf - for example, performing certain securityholder database management, maintenance or processing functions, operating recordkeeping systems or printing tax forms. This outside company might be in Canada or might be outside Canada, including in the United States. When we do use such a company, we select the company carefully and require that it uses standards comparable to ours, subject to requirements in foreign jurisdictions applicable to those organizations. Some of these jurisdictions do not have personal information protection laws equivalent to those in Canada. In providing any of the Trustee Services or Agent Services set out above, personal information may be shared with related, affiliated companies or third parties who have been retained by AST to assist us in carrying out administrative or technological functions associated with the Trustee Services. Some of these parties are currently located outside of Canada. Depending on the service you use, some of the parties handling your information are located in the United States. Such information may be processed and stored in the United States or other countries and United States or other countries' governments, courts or law enforcement or regulatory agencies may be able to obtain disclosure of such information through the laws of the United States or such countries.
Must disclose information for legal reasons or regulated industry "best practices".
We may be compelled to release information by legislation (including tax reporting, anti-money laundering, terrorist financing and securities legislation in Canada and other countries, including the United States), a court of law, to a regulatory authority or to a successor trustee or agent. For example, we may be required to disclose certain personal information to Canadian, U.S. or other securities regulators in the course of identifying restricted securities positions or other audit and reporting obligations to those regulators. We may also disclose certain personal information of securityholders to our corporate, business, or government customers to enable them to comply with similar legal and regulatory requirements applicable to them. Our policy is to release information only to the extent we have to in order to fulfill these requirements and meet best practices.
Have to protect the interests of AST.
In certain circumstances, AST may have to collect, use or release information for our protection. For example, in collecting accounts or in the detection or prevention of fraud.
Enter into certain business transactions.
Personal information may be used by AST and disclosed to parties connected with the contemplated or actual financing, securitization, insuring, reorganization, sale, assignment or other disposal of all or part of AST or our business or assets, including for the purposes of:
- Permitting those parties to determine whether to proceed or continue with such transaction
- Fulfilling reporting, inspection or audit requirements or obligations to such parties
- The use and disclosure of your personal information by such parties for substantially the same purposes as described in this Privacy Statement.
AST may otherwise disclose personal information as necessary to meet legal, regulatory, insurance, audit and security requirements, with your consent, or as permitted or required by law.
Where we've been appointed by you to provide transfer services to organizations in which you hold a securities position or with which you are otherwise connected, we use personal information with consent. Generally, by appointing AST to perform Trustee Services or by holding a position in, or otherwise being materially connected with, an organization that has appointed us to perform Agent Services (including such connections as being a director, officer or other principal), you consent to AST's collection, use and disclosure of your personal information as described in this Privacy Statement.
Consent can be express or implied. Express consent can be verbal or written. For example, an application for registration of a retirement savings plan may contain a written consent for our use of your information to carry out the role of a retirement savings plan trustee. Or you might consent to release the information over the phone.
Consent is implied when we can reasonably conclude that you've given consent by an action you've taken or not taken, or where the context reasonably requires that we have and use information to carry out what you have asked us to do. For example, in the course of providing Trustee Services, we will disclose personal information to the Manager or Sponsor of the plan.
You can withdraw your consent any time after you've given it to us by contacting our privacy officer, provided there are no legal or contractual requirements to prevent this and on reasonable notice. If you don't consent to certain uses of information or if you withdraw your consent, we may not be able to provide a particular product or service. If so, we'll explain the situation to you to help you with your decision. For example, in some Agent or Trustee Services, such as those related to the holding of a security, our ability to carry out the service may be dependent on us being able to process information outside of Canada; in such circumstance, the only method of withdrawing consent, may mean that you must choose not to hold a particular security.
There are limited circumstances where AST may be permitted or required by law to collect, use or disclose personal information without consent when providing Trustee Services or providing Agent Services on behalf of its corporate or business clients. We may be required or permitted under statute or regulation to collect, use or disclose personal information without your consent, for example to comply with a court order, to comply with local, federal or foreign regulations or a legally permitted inquiry by a Canadian or foreign government agency, or to collect a debt owed to us. As a service provider in the regulated securities and financial industry, we are required to collect, use and disclose personal information to meet applicable legal and regulatory requirements in Canadian and other jurisdictions, including in the United States.
We protect your information from error, loss and unauthorized access
Our employees and agents who need to have access to personal information in the course of their duties are made aware that it is confidential. Each employee must certify annually that he or she has maintained the confidentiality of information entrusted to him or her.
Our computer security specialists build security into all our computer systems.
This protects personal information while it is stored in data files and when employees are using it. Our systems also protect information when it is transmitted - for example, from one branch office to another.
Information sent via the Internet, however, can be intercepted by a third party. It is relatively easy for a third party to intercept and read information sent via unencrypted e-mail. Where AST's website requests or accepts confidential information such as information on a shareholder's change of address form, we transmit that information with 128-bit encryption. In certain circumstances we may be able to offer you other options for secure transmission.
Your information is destroyed when it is no longer needed
We keep your information only so long as we need it for the products and services we've been hired to deliver, subject to reasonable business record retention policies and legal requirements. We have standards that meet these requirements. We either destroy information or render it anonymous when it is no longer needed.
Access to and accuracy of personal information
You can check your information to verify, update and correct it, and to have obsolete information removed. We will ask for the request in writing. Your right to access your personal information is subject to applicable legal restrictions. (see "How to Contact Us" below)
There's no charge for verifying or correcting your information. Depending on the circumstances, there may be a charge if you want a copy of records or if special expense is involved in retrieving your information. We will advise of any charges in advance.
You can find out to whom information is given
If you ask, we will let you know the names of outside companies or organizations we've given your personal information to, if known. This won't include information given to outside companies used to do work for us, such as tax form printers. It also won't include disclosures to Canada Revenue Agency in reports like T5s, and it won't include disclosures where we are prohibited by law from advising the individual of the disclosure or where the law otherwise restricts your right to obtain this information.
We respond to requests promptly
We'll deal quickly with your request to see your information, and within 30 days. If we need to extend the time, or we have to refuse the request, we'll tell you why (subject to any legal restrictions) and we'll notify you of the reasons for the extension and your rights under applicable legislation with respect to the extension.
We correct the information
Whenever possible and appropriate, we'll correct any information we may have given to any other organization. If we've received the information from another party, if possible we'll let you know the name and address of the party so that you can ask them to correct it.
We Protect Other People's Privacy When We Make Information Available To You
There may be files that include information about you and other people which is confidential to AST or our corporate clients, is the property of AST or such clients, or which is protected by solicitor-client privilege or is otherwise not subject to access by the individual. Because we value everyone's confidentiality and legal rights we cannot make these files available outside of AST or our related companies. However, where we can, through reasonable efforts, separate your information from the information of others without affecting another's confidentiality or legal rights, we will make available to you the information contained in the files about you.
We monitor our compliance with the AST privacy policies
We have procedures in place to assist our employees in complying with our policies. Our internal auditors monitor the adherence to these policies and report any findings to a committee of the board of directors of AST.
We are committed to upholding the AST privacy policies
Resolving concerns is important to us
AST is committed to treating everyone with the greatest respect and consideration and to providing the highest level of service. Even so, from time to time there may be a misunderstanding, or someone may feel treated unjustly. Whatever the circumstances, resolving the problem is our primary concern.
How to contact us
Any questions or concerns regarding your personal information or regarding our personal information policies or procedures, or requests to withdraw consent can be directed to our Privacy Officer by any of the following means. We may ask for further documentation or information in order to verify your identity when you make your request.
AST Privacy Officer
P.O. Box 4202
Postal Station A
"Personal information" means information about an identifiable individual, as more particularly described in applicable privacy laws in Canada.
This Privacy Statement is effective as of Nov 1, 2010. We may change this policy from time to time, and, if we do, the most current version can be obtained by contacting us as above, or by accessing our website https://www.astfinancial.com/ca-en.