Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Brian Beamish, submitted his comments this afternoon to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy on the Health Information Protection Act, 2015. The Commissioner’s submission is divided into two distinct sections. The first relates to proposed amendments to the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) and the second addresses the proposal to repeal and replace the Quality of Care Information Protection Act (QCIPA).
Given that the proposed amendments to PHIPA were developed in close consultation with our office, the Commissioner is supportive of the proposed amendments to PHIPA, which will create a governance framework for the shared provincial Electronic Health Record.
While our office has no direct oversight of QCIPA, we adjudicate disputes where access may be refused on the ground that records are shielded by QCIPA. The Commissioner believes that the new version of QCIPA should be amended to enhance accountability and transparency. More specifically, our office should have the express authority to review records claimed to be shielded by QCIPA. Further, individuals should continue to have a right of access to facts in respect of all incidents that may be subject to review under the new version of QCIPA.
We look forward to working with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care on the implementation of these important amendments, and the regulations giving effect to these amendments, that will strengthen privacy and accountability for all Ontarians.