Proposed Legislation Will Increase Health Privacy

On Sept. 16, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Eric Hoskins introduced Bill 119 to improve accountability and transparency in the health care system and better protect patient privacy. If passed, the Health Information Protection Act would, among other things, require reporting of privacy breaches that meet certain requirements to our office, remove the six-month limitation period on commencing prosecutions and double the maximum fines for offences under Ontario’s health privacy legislation.

Reacting to the bill’s introduction, the Commissioner affirmed the need to strengthen the existing legislation:

“As the health-care sector transitions to shared electronic health records, the privacy of patients and the confidentiality of their personal health information must be protected to ensure public confidence. I am pleased that the government is moving forward with necessary amendments to Ontario’s health privacy legislation, which were developed in consultation with my office. The introduction of mandatory breach reporting to my office and strengthening the consequences for those who violate patient privacy will bring increased accountability and transparency as well as instill trust in the health system.”

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