Can individuals correct errors and omissions in their personal health information?

Anyone who believes that their personal health information is incomplete or inaccurate for the purposes for which you collected, used or use the information, can request in writing that you correct the record. It is the health information custodian's (custodian) responsibility to ensure that personal health information is complete and accurate.

You can make a correction based on an oral request, but you can also require that the request be made in writing.

How long do I have to respond to a correction request?

As a custodian, you must respond as soon as possible in the circumstances but no later than 30 days after receiving a written request for a correction. Extensions of up to a maximum of 30 additional days are allowed, where replying within 30 days would unreasonably interfere with your operations, or where the necessary consultations would not make it reasonably practical to reply within that time frame. In such situations, you must inform the individual in writing of the extension and set out the length of and reasons for the extension. Where you do not grant a correction request within the required timeline, you will be deemed to have refused the request.

Can I refuse to correct an individual's personal health information?

Except in limited situations, a custodian must correct a record of personal health information where an individual demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the custodian, that the record is inaccurate or incomplete for the purposes for which the custodian uses the information and the individual gives the custodian the information necessary to allow the custodian to correct the record.

As a custodian, you may refuse to correct a record of personal health information that you did not originally create and which you do not have sufficient knowledge, expertise and authority to correct. You are also not required to change a professional opinion or an observation that you made in good faith about the individual requesting the correction, for example, if you are a physician and made a medical diagnosis in good faith.

If you refuse to make a correction, you must inform the individual in writing of the refusal, the reasons for the refusal, the individual’s right to make a complaint regarding the refusal to the IPC and the right of the individual to require that you attach a statement of disagreement to the record that sets out the correction you have refused to make. The individual may require that you disclose the statement of disagreement when you disclose the information you refused to correct. The individual may also require that you make all reasonable efforts to disclose the statement of disagreement to any person to whom you have disclosed the information you refused to correct, except if the correction (if it had been granted) could not reasonably be expected to affect the ongoing provision of health care or other benefits to the individual.

If you deny an individual’s request to correct their personal health information, they can file a written complaint with the IPC and we may adjudicate that complaint.

For more information, please refer to the IPC’s fact sheet, Your health information - Your access and correction rights.

How do I correct a record?

Where you grant a correction request, you must record the correction in the record and strike-out the incorrect information in a manner that does not obliterate the record.  If it is not possible to strike-out the incorrect information, then you must label the information as incorrect, sever the incorrect information from the record, store it separately from the record and maintain a link in the record that allows a person to trace the incorrect information.  If it is not possible to record the correct information in the record, you must ensure that there is a practical system in place to inform a person who accesses the record that the information in the record is incorrect and to direct the person to the correct information.

Where you grant a correction request, you must notify the individual in writing that you have granted the request and notify the individual of how you made the correction. At that individual’s request, you must give written notice of the requested correction, to the extent reasonably possible, to the persons to whom you disclosed the information you corrected, except if the correction cannot reasonably be expected to affect the ongoing provision of health care or other benefits to the individual.


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