Human Resources Legislative Update
Ontario Passes Legislation to Reform Personal Health Information Privacy Laws
Date: May 20, 2016
On May 18, 2016, significant legislative reforms to the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA) and Quality of Care Information Protection Act, 2004 (QCIPA) intended to enhance patient privacy and accountability and improve transparency in the healthcare sector received Royal Assent.
Bill 119, the Health Information Protection Act, 2015 (Bill 119) was first introduced on September 16, 2015. In part, it amends PHIPA to:
- require health information custodians to report privacy breaches – as defined by supporting regulations – to the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the relevant regulatory colleges in certain circumstances
- eliminate the requirement that prosecutions under PHIPA must be commenced within six months of the occurrence of the alleged offence
- double the maximum fines for offences from $50,000 to $100,000 for individuals and from $250,000 to $500,000 for organizations.
Bill 119 further updates QCIPA to:
- allow certain healthcare practitioners to share information for the purpose of improving patient care
- affirm the rights of patients to access their healthcare information
- require a review of QCIPA every 5 years.
These reforms will come into force on a date to be proclaimed.
The Ontario government invited comments on proposed amendments to Regulation 965 “Hospital Management” made under the Public Hospitals Act, which were consistent with the Bill 119 amendments to QCIPA. Comments were due by November 2, 2015.