BC FIPA Comments on Proposal for Nat’l ID Card

BC FIPA presented its comments before the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Public Safety on the proposal to create a national identity card.

[A] national ID card would be:

  • hugely expensive;
  • just as subject to fraud, privacy abuses, and security breaches as current systems of identification; and
  • not likely to be more effective in preventing crime than better managed and more secure systems for birth certificates, Social Insurance Numbers, passports, and driver’s licenses.

Canadians have not had an open and thorough debate about the possibility of creating a national identity card, and we believe it would be a serious mistake to proceed in the heat of the moment without such a debate — or more accurately, in the current atmosphere of fear, anger and hysteria which has so unbalanced our neighbour to the south.

Read the full text of the comments (pdf).

Privacy and Canada’s Health Information Highway – A presentation by BC FIPA to the Information and Privacy Conference in Victoria — 14 Feb 2002

BC FIPA believes the issue of HEALTH INFORMATION PRIVACY as the most significant privacy issue of our time. This presentation outlines the importance of the right to privacy and the threats that “Health Info-structure” represents.

Provincial governments appear to believe that the diminution of privacy rights is essential to the creation of the “Canadian Health Info-way”.

BC FIPA disagrees. We think Canadians can have privacy rights AND the highest quality health care system.

Download the full presentation (pdf).

BC FIPA and Partners Publish Discussion Paper on Alberta Health Information Act

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.

Download the discussion paper (pdf).