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Module 1: Introduction to Privacy and Confidentiality


On January 1, 2004, Canada enacted privacy legislation called the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). PIPEDA governs the collection, use, disclosure and retention of personal information in the course of commercial activities.

However, this legislation did not focus on the core activities of hospitals. This resulted in questions regarding its applicability to healthcare.

On November 1, 2004, the Ontario government will enact the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA). The act provides direction to all individuals who collect, use, disclose and retain personal information and personal health information. These individuals may include staff, physicians, volunteers, students and contracted staff at healthcare facilities.

What is Privacy?

Privacy is the right of an individual to control his or her own personal information. In other words, a person can determine how, when and to what extent they will share information with others.

Privacy Policy

What is Confidentiality?

Confidentiality is the obligation of staff and affiliates (professionals with hospital privileges like physicians, students, volunteers, contractors, contract employees) to protect information entrusted to them regardless of format; formats may include, but are not limited to verbal, written and electronic.

Confidentiality Policy

Confidentiality at Alexandra Hospital

Alexandra Hospital has a responsibility to ensure confidentiality is maintained by their staff and affiliates. Failure to maintain confidentiality may result in disciplinary action, including:Loss of privileges

  • Loss of affiliation
  • Reporting to your professional college
  • Civil action
  • Criminal prosecution
  • Institutional and personal fines
  • Termination of contract
  • Termination of employment

Personal information includes name, date of birth, address, Health Card Number and extended health insurance numbers.

Personal health information includes information relating to previous health problems, the record of visits to the hospital and what health care we provide during those visits.

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