BC FIPA publishes Declaration of Medical Privacy Rights

BC FIPA has published a Declaration of Medial Privacy Rights in light of the push towards electronic health records and electronic information management systems.

Declaration of Medical Privacy Rights

The Right to Privacy is a human right and is fundamental to my dignity as a human

My right to privacy extends to all my personal health information, regardless of the
format in which it is recorded.

Any personal health record maintained on me by any health care provider is created through a special relationship, with the expectation that my information will remain confidential. The confidential nature of this relationship exists to safeguard and promote my physical and mental health. Any violation of this confidential relationship may adversely affect my health and is a violation of my right to privacy.

The right to privacy affirms my right to control access to and use of my personal health information. Any access or use without my consent is a violation of my right to privacy.

Fundamental to my right to privacy of health information is the right to:

a) be told why specific information is requested and if it will be part of a physical record,

b) know who will have access to any of my health information and for what purpose,

c) refuse access to all or portions of my information,

d) expect an audit trail that will identify who has accessed my health information,

e) expect my health information will be maintained in a secure environment that will prevent any unauthorized access,

f) request and receive an accurate and complete copy of my health records in a timely

g) have corrected any factual error in the records. If there is a disagreement about the
accuracy of the records, it is my right to have the disputed information clearly identified and to append to the records what I believe to be the correct information,

h) expect the information will be retained for a length of time appropriate only to the primary reason for which it was obtained. Any retention beyond this length of time must be done with my consent, and

i) seek an effective remedy should any of these rights be violated.

Download the Declaration.

Open Letter Urges Premier to Honour Pledge to Provide Stable Funding for Information and Privacy Commissioner

The BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association sent an
open letter today to Premier Gordon Campbell urging him to honor his committment to “open government” by rejecting a Finance Committee recommendation to cut 35 per cent from the budget of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

On December 19th, the Legislature’s Finance Committee recommended drastic cuts to the offices of the Auditor General (15 per cent), Elections B.C. (45 per cent), Ombudsman (35 per cent), Child, Youth and Family Advocate (45 per cent), Police Complaint Commission (30 per cent), and Information and Privacy Commissioner (35 per cent).

FIPA’s letter states, “The relatively small amounts saved by cutting these budgets will mean vastly less government transparency and accountability, and inevitably more inefficiency, waste and improper conduct in public offices.”

“Cuts of this magnitude would completely destroy the government’s ‘New Era’ pledge to be ‘the most open, accountable and democratic government in Canada'”, said Darrell Evans, executive director of FIPA. “The exercise of power without sufficient scrutiny and accountability is a great danger for any government — and the danger is even greater in a province without an effective Official Opposition.”

FIPA is most concerned about possible cutbacks to the office of the
Information and Privacy Commissioner, whose budget of $2.4 million is already bare-bones following cutbacks made in 1998. The open letter points out that further cuts would fly in the face of a written commitment made to FIPA by the Premier to provide adequate funding for the Commissioner’s office.

In April 2001, FIPA sent a written question to then-Opposition Leader Gordon Campbell asking, “Do you favour reducing, keeping stable or increasing the funding for the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s office?” Mr. Campbell’s response was, “Our commitment to open government means providing a stable funding base for the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s office to ensure that office has the resources it needs to discharge its statutory mandate.”

FIPA’s open letter states, “Reducing the budget of the Information and Privacy Commissioner as recommended by the Finance Committee can by no means be interpreted as providing a stable funding base for the office, and there is no question that it will deprive the Commissioner of the resources needed to discharge its statutory mandate…

“We ask that you consider the effect that less scrutiny and accountability could have on government officials, both elected and unelected. What tragedies, what boondoggles, what unfairness and waste will be made more likely in such a situation? We think that you should be hearing warning bells as you consider this committee’s report.”

FIPA is the organization that successfully campaigned to have the freedom of information (FOI) act passed in 1992, and launched the “Campaign for Open Government” to defend the FOI act from the threat of severe budget cuts by the Clark government in1998.

CONTACT: Darrell Evans, (604) 739-9788

2001 FIPA Awards!

The 2001 Freedom of Information and Privacy Awards

November 19, 2001 7:00 pm
Ramada Inn
898 West Broadway
Vancouver, B.C.


Arvay Finlay Barristers
Association of Records Managers and Administrators (ARMA)
BC Coalition of People with Disabilities
BC Library Association
BC Teachers Federation
Canadian Newspaper Association
Canadian Taxpayers Federation
David F. Sutherland & Associates
Dr. Scott and Terri Cornell
Kearney Funeral Services
The Law Foundation of British Columbia
MacLeod & Company LLP
The PACE Group
The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
Trial Lawyers Association of BC

The Awards

The Freedom of Information and Privacy Awards are given annually to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to information rights in Canada. Awards are given in in four categories:

1. WHISTLEBLOWER AWARDS – For taking action to disclose information that is vital to the public interest, in spite of personal risk.

2. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AWARDS – For outstanding and publicly beneficial use of a freedom of information act in Canada.

3. PRIVACY ADVOCATE AWARD – For outstanding contribution to the advancement of privacy rights in Canada.

4. INFORMATION RIGHTS AWARD – For lifetime contribution to freedom of information and privacy rights in Canada.

Keynote Speaker

Prof. Richard Rosenberg, Dept. of Computer Science, UBC:

“Is the enemy us? — New threats to privacy, freedom of information and civil liberties in the age of terrorism”

Prof. Rosenberg is an author, privacy advocate and Vice President of Electronic Frontier Canada, an internet civil liberties group.

This Year’s Winners

Freedom of Information award:

ANDREW McINTOSH — An award-winning investigative reporter with the National Post, McIntosh used the Access to Information Act to break the “Shawinigate” story about Jean Chretien’s involvement in obtaining government grants for businessmen in his riding. As an instructor, McIntosh has taught over 500 journalists how to make effective use of FOI laws.

Privacy Advocate Award:

STEPHANIE PERRIN — As former Director of Privacy Policy for Industry Canada’s Electronic Commerce Task Force, Ms. Perrin led the legislative initiative that culminated in the passing of Canada’s new Personal Information Protection Act.

Information Rights Award:

KEN RUBIN — Mr. Rubin is the foremost advocate and “expert user” of freedom of information acts in Canada. As a public interest researcher, he blazed the trail in the use of Canada’s Access to Information Act and has held the government to account through hundreds of access appeals and several important court cases.

Whistleblower Awards:

DR. NOEL BUSKARD — An award-winning professor of medicine at UBC, Dr. Buskard suffered reprisals after going public to expose the “abysmal” state of Vancouver General Hospital’s laboratory services, protest the improper firing of the hospital’s head emergency nurse, and expose what he called “filthy” and unsafe conditions at Heather Pavilion.

Cpl. ROBERT READ — This RCMP investigator went public with allegations that senior officers were attempting a cover-up of corruption at Canada’s diplomatic mission in Hong Kong. Up to 30 foreign service officers who were named in his investigation have been reprimanded for accepting “gifts” from wealthy Chinese families.


Tel: (604) 739-9788 Fax: (604) 739-9148
E-mail: info@fipa.bc.ca www.fipa.bc.ca

Freedom of Information and Privacy Awards 1999 Winners

Information Rights Award:

THOMAS B. RILEY — For more than 25 years working within Canada and around the world to get freedom of information and privacy acts — including B.C.’s — developed and enacted. Mr. Riley is an Ottawa-based information policy consultant, a visiting professor at the University of Glasgow, and Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Centre for Electronic Governance.

Whistleblower Awards:

Dr. Nancy Olivieri – Dr. Olivieri made front-page news across Canada when, as the lead researcher conducting trials of a drug for the treatment of a rare blood disorder, she went public with findings that the drug was causing harmful effects. She took this action in spite of a gag order, threats of lawsuits from the drug manufacturer, and sanctions by the hospital where she practiced.

Margaret Haydon – At considerable risk to her 15-year career as a drug evaluator with Health Canada, Ms. Haydon went public with evidence that certain drugs being approved by the department could be harmful to human health.

Freedom of Information Awards:

Jim Bronskill, reporter, Southam News, Ottawa – Bronskill used Canada’s Access to Information Act to unearth a 20-year program in which federal prisonerss were used as guinea pigs in experiments involving drugs, sensory deprivation and shock treatment.

Ann Rees, reporter, The Province, Vancouver – Rees used B.C.’s FOI act to research a series of articles entitled “Drugging Our Children” which revealed the misuse of the prescription drug Ritalin to control the behavior of normal children in some B.C. Schools.

Privacy Advocate Award:

Dr. Scott Cornell and Nancy Cornell – This West Vancouver couple went public with their refusal to cooperate with Statistics Canada’s intrusive “Family Expenditure Survey”. Following their complaints to Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, Statscan made compliance with the survey voluntary.