Understanding Your Personal Health Information and Privacy Rights

What is personal health information?

Your personal health information may contain information about:

  • your mental health
  • your physical health
  • your health history
  • your personal history
  • your relevant family medical history

Collection, Use, and Disclosure of Personal Health Information

Your request for care from us implies consent for our collection, use, and disclosure of your personal health information for the following purposes:

  • to provide and assist in the provision of health care to you through our services, programs, and facilities;
  • to get payment for health care and any related goods and services provided to you, including from OHIP, your private insurer, WSIB, and others as necessary;
  • to plan, administer, and manage the operation of our services, programs, and facilities;
  • to manage risk and improve the quality and safety of our services and programs;
  • to educate or train our agents to provide health care;
  • to conduct research activities as approved by a research ethics board;
  • to comply with legal and regulatory requirements; and,
  • to fulfill other purposes that are permitted or required by law.

From time to time, we may communicate about your care with your other health care providers, including collecting, using, and disclosing your personal health information through electronic medical information systems (sometimes called electronic health records, eHealth records, electronic medical records, etc.). If you would like more information about the electronic medical information systems we use, please speak with our Privacy Contact.

Any uses of your personal health information other than those mentioned above would require your express consent.

What are my privacy rights?

PHIPA provides you with certain rights related to your personal health information under our custody or control. Please communicate with our Privacy Contact for more information related to your rights:

  • You have the right to request a copy of your clinical file by contacting your health service provider.
  • You also have the right to request a correction or amendment to your personal health information. You have the right to block all or parts of your clinical file to designated recipients.
  • to withdraw your consent to our collection and use of your personal health information or its disclosure to other health care providers (subject to certain legal obligations); and,
  • to be informed if your personal health information is lost, stolen or improperly accessed.
  • You may log a complaint if you feel that your service provider has not addressed your privacy concern correctly.

Why is my information being collected?

Your personal health information is primarily used to paint the picture of your overall health so that your care providers can give you better care.
Sharing your personal health information by mail, fax and electronically with other service providers is important. The information shared with the members of your community care team allows them to have the most up-to-date information about you so they can better and more safely meet your needs.

How is my personal health information being protected?

We handle and protect your personal health information in accordance with Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA) and any other laws that we are required to follow. We provide training, follow established policies, and take other steps to ensure that our staff and anyone else acting on our behalf protects your privacy.

Your personal health information can only be used by authorized staff providing you with health care support and services.

Your care providers are required to have administrative, physical and technical safeguards to protect their physical records and their electronic networks from misuse, correction, copying, disclosure, destruction, monitoring and/or damage. These safeguards include security software and encryption protocols, firewalls, locks and other access controls, privacy impact assessments, privacy training for staff and students, and confidentiality agreements.

Privacy and security safeguards are constantly under review and are enhanced where necessary to ensure the highest level of protection.

Can my personal health information be shared with third parties that are not health care providers?

Your health care provider requires your express consent to share your personal health information with third parties.

You can request copies of parts and/or all of your health record for purposes other than healthcare, such as your lawyer, or an application for short or long-term disability.

Are there times when my personal health information can be shared without my express consent?

Yes – there are times when your health care providers are required to share your personal health information without your express consent. For example, if you are at risk of harm to self or others, we may need to share need-to-know information to keep you safe. Your health care providers are also obligated by law to respond to a subpoena and/or search warrant.

Anonymous demographic and statistical data may also be used for the purposes of program and funding evaluation.

Why are my assessments shared in a centralized electronic assessment system?

Having your health information in an electronic format allows your authorized health care providers to quickly and securely access your health history, no matter where you receive care. Since the other health service providers involved in your care have a better picture of your assessments, they will be able to provide you with better care.

A centralized electronic sharing system is used to share your assessment data with community health service providers who need to review the assessment data in order to provide services to you. If you have concerns regarding the privacy and security of your personal health information, you may contact your health service provider’s Privacy Officer. If you wish to consent or withhold your consent to the sharing of your assessments in the electronic sharing system you may contact the Consent Call Centre at 1-855-585-5279 or TTY (1-855-973-4445).

What does it mean when I give my consent to share my personal health information within my circle of care?

When you give your consent, your assessment record will be uploaded onto a secure and centralized electronic assessment system. Your care providers will use the information in your assessment to provide you with the safe, quality care that better meets your needs.

You have the right to be informed of the positive and negative consequences of your consent to share or not to share your personal health information with health service providers involved in your care.

Our Privacy Contact

For more information or to raise a concern about our privacy practices, please contact our Privacy Contact:

Anna Tersigni Phelan, B.A. CHIM

Phone: 519-821-8089 x 2011


Mailing Address: 80 Waterloo Avenue Guelph ON N1H 0A1

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario is responsible for making sure that privacy law is followed in Ontario. For more information about your privacy rights, or if you are unable to resolve an issue directly with our Privacy Contact and wish to make a complaint, contact:

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400

Toronto, ON M4W 1A8


Toll Free: 1-800-387-0073

TDD/TTY: 416-325-7539