Legislation

Personal Health Information and Protection Act, 2004

Compendium : Health Information Protection Act, 2004

An Act to enact and amend various Acts with respect to the protection of health information

Background

Currently, in Ontario the rules concerning who may use personal health information and how are not clear. Many jurisdictions have enacted or are developing legislation to protect the privacy of individuals, and the confidentiality and security of health information.

In October 2000, a consultation paper entitled Ontario's Proposed Personal Health Information Privacy Legislation for the Health Sector (Health Sector Privacy Rules) was released for public consultation. The consultation paper was widely distributed to about 5,000 organizations and individuals across the province, inviting written submissions. Roundtable meetings were held in a number of locations across Ontario. Over 100 written submissions were received.

This consultation built on earlier consultation processes. In June 1996 a consultation paper, A Legal Framework for Health Information, was followed by regional roundtable meetings and resulted in over 100 written submissions. In November 1997, the draft Personal Health Information Protection Act, 1997 was released for public consultation. The draft act and a plain language overview were sent for review and comment to 1,000 individuals and organizations, and the overview alone to a further 4,000. Regional consultation meetings were also held across the province. Approximately 200 written submissions were received. The advice received over the course of both rounds of consultation was used to revise the draft legislation.

On December 7, 2000, the Personal Health Information Privacy Act, 2000 (Bill 159) received first reading. After the standing committee hearings, the Legislature was prorogued in March 2001 and the Bill died on the order paper.

In February 2002, the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services released draft legislation, the Privacy of Personal Information Act, for consultation. The draft legislation, prepared in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, was drafted so as to apply to both the health sector and business and not-for-profit sectors outside the health sector, with separate rules for personal health information in the health sector. Legislation of this scope, however, was not introduced.

The Health Information Protection Act, 2004, consisting of the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (Schedule A) and the Quality of Care Information Protection Act, 2004 (Schedule B), provides consistent and comprehensive rules for many individuals and organizations that collect personal health information. The goals of the legislation are to protect the privacy of individuals, and the confidentiality and security of personal health information in the health sector in a manner that facilitates the effective provision of health care.

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Compendium : Health Information Protection Act, 2004
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