BC FIPA along with the Canadian Mental Health Association (Alberta Division), the Alberta Medical Association, and United Nurses of Alberta has published a discussion paper on Alberta’s recently adopted Health Information Act (HIA).
The paper, titled “Alberta’s Health Information Act and the Charter”, reviews the underpinnings of the right to privacy in Canada, the protection of this right afforded under the Charter, and discusses issues and concerns with the HIA.
The Act allows individually identifying health information to be disclosed without the individual’s consent in a number of circumstances … If particularly sensitive information is not effectively protected, this may violate individuals’ privacy and also the equality rights of individuals with certain personal characteristics.
The definition of non-identifying information establishes a low threshold which … increases the likelihood of privacy violations.
This preliminary analysis indicates that there are constitutional issues raised by the text of the Health Information Act. It will also be essential to bear in mind the constitutional protection of the right to privacy as the Act is implemented. The actions of government in implementing the Act … must therefore be taken in a manner which is consistent with the Charter, including its requirement to respect individuals’ privacy.