NOTICE OF PRIVACY PRACTICES
At Ottawa Health Services Network Inc. (OHSNI), we take your privacy very seriously. We have an established policy to deal with personal health information and other personal information in a sensitive manner. In addition, we ensure that our collection, use, retention and disclosure of personal health information comply with the requirements of Ontario's Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (“PHIPA”).
WHO ARE WE?
OHSNI is a not-for-profit organization established in 1997. OHSNI’s Baffin / Ottawa Program co-ordinates specialist health care, in both Ottawa and Nunavut, for residents of the Qikiqtani region of Nunavut. OHSNI supports patients in Ottawa through a variety of means, including case management, facilitation of Home Care while in Ottawa, medical interpretation, and facilitation of communication between all medical personnel and families in the north and in Ottawa. OHSNI’s legal and funding agreement is with the Government of Nunavut.
OHSNI is a Health Information Custodian within the meaning of PHIPA, which applies to (a) the collection, use or disclosure of personal health information by a Health Information Custodian; (b) the use or disclosure of personal health information by a person who is not a Health Information Custodian but to whom a Health Information Custodian disclosed the information; and (c) the collection, use or disclosure of a health number by any person.
A Health Information Custodian is defined in section 3 of PHIPA. OHSNI falls within this definition as per the following category:
“health information custodian”, subject to subsections (3) to (11), means a person or organization described in one of the following paragraphs who has custody or control of personal health information as a result of or in connection with performing the person’s or organization’s powers or duties or the work described in the paragraph, if any:
- A person who operates one of the following facilities, programs or services:
- A centre, program or service for community health or mental health whose primary purpose is the provision of health care.
“Personal Health Information” is defined in section 4 of PHIPA as identifying information about an individual in oral or recorded form, if the information,
(a) relates to the physical or mental health of the individual, including information that consists of the health history of the individual’s family,
(b) relates to the providing of health care to the individual, including the identification of a person as a provider of health care to the individual,
(c) is a plan of service within the meaning of the Home Care and Community Services Act, 1994 for the individual,
(d) relates to payments or eligibility for health care, or eligibility for coverage for health care, in respect of the individual,
(e) relates to the donation by the individual of any body part or bodily substance of the individual or is derived from the testing or examination of any such body part or bodily substance,
(f) is the individual’s health number, or
(g) identifies an individual’s substitute decision-maker.
“Identifying Information” means information that identifies an individual or for which it is reasonably foreseeable in the circumstances that it could be utilized, either alone or with other information, to identify an individual. “Personal Health Information” includes identifying information that is not personal health information, but that is contained in a record that contains personal health information described in that subsection. However, “Personal Health Information” does not include identifying information contained in a record that is in the custody or under the control of a health information custodian if,
(a) the identifying information contained in the record relates primarily to one or more employees or other agents of the custodian; and
(b) the record is maintained primarily for a purpose other than the provision of health care or assistance in providing health care to the employees or other agents.
WHAT TYPES OF INFORMATION DO WE COLLECT?
In the course of providing services to you, we may ask you to provide us with certain information. In addition, your personal health information may be provided to us, the employees of the Government of Nunavut, and Community Health Centers or the Qikiqtani General Hospital. We may also collect information from other organizations and persons who are involved in your care, including from physicians, Ottawa area hospitals and Baffin-Larga or Carefor.
The types of Personal Health Information and Personal Information that we collect may include:
- Your name, address, telephone number(s), e-mail address, identification and health care numbers
- Your demographic information including age, gender, date of birth, language, living arrangements
- Your medical records and other health information, including information about disabilities and conditions, treatment and care history
- Information about your eligibility for health care funding
- Contact information for your family members or other support persons
HOW DO WE USE YOUR INFORMATION?
We collect the personal health information and personal information described above to provide you with various services, including case management, social services and/or medical interpretation. We ensure that we do not collect more information than we need to provide you with the services that you require, and that your information is only accessed by OHSNI employees on a “need to know” basis so that we can make appropriate decisions about how to provide these services to you and your family members.
TO WHOM DO WE DISCLOSE/SHARE YOUR INFORMATION?
In accordance with PHIPA, a Health Information Custodian is permitted to share Personal Health Information received from the individual or their substitute decision-maker with another Health Information Custodian for the purposes of providing or assisting in the provision of health care to the individual without seeking express consent, unless consent is expressly withheld or withdrawn.
We will assume that you consent to the sharing of your personal health information and personal information for the purpose of providing health care related services to you, with organizations and persons who are part of your health care team or for health related purposes, for example: Carefor Nursing Agency Ottawa, the Baffin Larga boarding home, the Non-Insured Health Benefits program, medical vendors such as Ontario Medical Supplies, or personal insurance programs. You have the right to instruct us not to share any part of your personal and health information with other health care providers.
Unless we have obtained your express consent, we will not disclose your personal health information and personal information to organizations or persons who are not involved in providing you with health care related services. We may, for example, ask for your written consent to share your information with personnel from the Ottawa-Carleton Children’s Aid Society or medical foster parents, where we are acting on your behalf as an advocate to interact with these agencies.
We may, however, disclose your personal health information or personal information without your express consent in certain exceptional circumstances as permitted by law, including to contact a relative or friend of a person who is injured, incapacitated, ill or unable to give consent personally, or to eliminate or reduce a significant risk of serious bodily harm to any person or the public.
From time to time we will transfer your personal health information or personal information to an outside service provider (eg IT services) in order to process such information for us. When this occurs, we will take steps to ensure that the service provider has in place appropriate procedures to protect your information in a manner that is comparable to the protection that we offer, and that the service provider will return or destroy the information after providing the services.
CAN YOU REFUSE TO PROVIDE INFORMATION?
Yes, the choice to provide us your personal health information and personal information is yours. However, your decision to withhold information may limit our ability to meet your needs.
HOW DO WE PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH INFORMATION?
We protect your personal health information and personal information against theft, loss and unauthorized use or disclosure as well as unauthorized copying, modification or disposal. The means we use secure physical storage of records, as well as appropriate password and other protections for any information that is stored electronically. In addition, we have administrative safeguards to ensure that all OHSNI employees and other persons with access to the information assume responsibility for safeguarding information that is obtained, handled or viewed in the course of delivering our services.
CAN I ACCESS MY PERSONAL INFORMATION, REQUEST CHANGES, OR WITHDRAW CONSENT?
You have a right to access your personal health information or personal information that we hold, unless we have a valid legal reason to withhold access. Your request must be made in writing and provide sufficient information to allow us to locate the requested records. We will respond to a request as soon as possible and in any event within thirty (30) days of receipt of the request, unless we need to extend this time limit for an additional time period, as permitted by law. Normally we will provide such access at no cost, but we may charge a fee in appropriate circumstances and will provide an estimate of that fee at the time the request is received. If we refuse the request, we will let you know why in writing and will let you know how you can complain to the Privacy Commissioner.
We will not routinely update your information, unless this is necessary to fulfil the purposes for which it was collected. However, we will take reasonable steps to ensure that your information is as accurate, complete and up to date. You have an obligation to ensure the information we have collected is accurate and should identify any errors or inaccurate information when they become aware of it and bring it to the attention of your service provider or the Privacy Officer identified below. We will correct your personal health information or personal information if you demonstrate that it is inaccurate or incomplete, and provide us with the necessary information.
You are entitled to withdraw your consent (whether express or implied) for the collection, use or disclosure of your personal health information or personal information by providing notice to us at the contact below, however, the withdrawal will not operate retroactively, and may limit our ability to provide proper services to you or your family member.
OHSNI’s employees, agents and subcontractors with access to your personal health information are expected to have basic knowledge and understanding of the general principles underlying PHIPA:
An organization is responsible for personal health information under its control and shall designate an individual or individuals who are accountable for the organization's compliance with the following principles.
2. Identifying Purposes
The purposes for which personal health information is collected shall be identified by the organization at or before the time the information is collected.
The knowledge and consent of an individual are required for the collection, use, or disclosure of personal health information, except where appropriate.
4. Limiting Collection
The collection of personal health information shall be limited to that which is necessary for the purposes identified by the organization. Information shall be collected by fair and lawful means.
5. Limiting Use, Disclosure and Retention
Personal health information shall not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by law. Personal health information shall be retained only as long as necessary for the fulfilment of those purposes.
Personal health information shall be as accurate, complete and up-to-date as is necessary for the purpose for which it is used.
Personal health information shall be protected by security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information.
An organization shall make readily available to individuals specific information about its policies and practices relating to the management of personal health information.
9. Individual Access
Upon request, an individual shall be informed of the existence, use, and disclose of his or her personal health information, and shall be given access to that information. An individual shall be able to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate.
10. Challenging Compliance
An individual shall be able to address a challenge concerning compliance with the above principles to the designate individuals accountable for the organization's compliance.
HOW TO CONTACT US
Our Privacy Officer is responsible for facilitating OHSNI's compliance with PHIPA and our privacy policies and may be contacted at:
Director of Operations
Ottawa Health Services Network Inc.
1929 Russell Road Suite 120
Ottawa, Ontario K1G 4G3
Ph: 613 523-7822 x 112
Fax 613 523-8163
If you wish to complain about our privacy practices, you can make such a complaint to our Privacy Officer, who will investigate. You also have the right to bring a formal complaint to Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner. You may contact this office toll-free at 1-800-387-0073
PRIVACY NOTICE CHANGES
This Notice of Privacy Practices may be revised from time to time. If we intend to use or disclose personal health information or other personal information for purposes not described in this Notice, we will make reasonable efforts to notify affected individuals in advance, if necessary. If you are concerned about how your personal information is used, you should contact us as described above or check back at our website periodically to obtain a current copy of this Notice.