Overview of the Laws Affecting the Privacy of Your Personal Health Information PDF Print E-mail

There are several laws that affect the privacy of your personal health information:

  • The Personal Information Protection Act applies to health care providers in private practice.
  • The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act applies to health authorities and hospitals
  • The E-Health Act applies to certain designated databases
  • The Ministry of Health Act gives the Minister of Health power to do things with personal health information for a wide range of purposes
  • The Public Health Act
  • The Health Authorities Act

Under some of these laws, but not all of them, you may have a right to be told about how your personal information is collected, used and disclosed, or to give or not give consent, and a right to get access to your personal information.

For information about when and how you give your consent, click here.

For information about how to get access to your personal information click here.

Check out our Links page for a lot more information.

How does the confidentiality of my information affect my privacy?

Doctors have a duty of confidentiality [link to Confidentiality] to their patients. They are required by law to keep patient information confidential except in specific situations. This duty of confidence applies to doctors no matter where they work: doctors in hospitals have the same duty as doctors in private practice.

But health authorities do not have a duty of confidence, so what protects the privacy of your personal health information that the health authorities hold in their electronic systems is the laws that apply to them: the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Ministry of Health Act and Health Authorities Act and the Public Health Act.

If the information is in a specific, designated health information bank then the E-Health Act will apply, but right now there is only one health information bank and it is not expected that the government will designate any other databases in the near future.

Check out our Links and Resources page for more information.