Updated FAQs on Ontario’s Health Privacy Act

Nov 03 2015

Think you know PHIPA? Ontario’s health-specific privacy legislation, the Personal Health Information Protection Act, came into force 11 years ago, on Nov. 1, 2004. To inform health information custodians and the public about their obligations and rights, we provide related resources on our website, including fact sheets, PHIPA decisions and anti-snooping materials.

In 2006 we published a comprehensive guidance on PHIPA in the form of frequently asked questions, and this year we’ve updated it to include more in-depth coverage. We’ve added questions that address such issues as disclosing personal health information (PHI) in an emergency, obtaining health records of deceased relatives and notification requirements in the event of a privacy breach. The FAQs also have a new look and feel, with cleaner, easy-to-understand, gender-neutral language.

In addition to an overview of PHIPA’s purpose and relationship to other privacy legislation in Ontario and Canada, the FAQs cover:

  • interpretation and application of PHIPA;
  • practices to protect PHI;
  • consent concerning PHI;
  • collection, use and disclosure of PHI;
  • fundraising and marketing;
  • research;
  • Ontario health cards and health numbers;
  • access to records of PHI and correction; and
  • administration and enforcement.

The FAQs are available as a downloadable PDF.