Canadian Security Magazine

Fine increase for patient privacy breaches

By The Canadian Press   

News Health Care

Ontario's Liberal government wants to double the fines for people who access patients' medical records without authority, and make it easier to prosecute offenders.

There have been problems with health-care workers accessing private medical records at hospitals in Peterborough, Sault Ste. Marie, Brantford, Toronto and elsewhere, with reports the data is sometimes sold to marketing companies.

Workers at several hospitals inappropriately accessed the medical records of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford.

Health Minister Eric Hoskins says he’ll introduce legislation this fall to double fines for violations of patients’ privacy to 100-thousand-dollars for individuals and 500-thousand for the hospital or organization.

It would also scrap a rule requiring that prosecutions start within six months of the alleged privacy breach, which Hoskins says makes it difficult to conduct an investigation and has made prosecutions very rare.


The bill would also make it mandatory to report privacy breaches to Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner and to the relevant regulatory colleges that govern health-care professionals.

The commissioner can’t launch prosecutions, and can only refer the cases to the Attorney General’s office.

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