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The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) and its staff are committed to respecting your privacy and protecting your personal information. All staff is trained to protect privacy and ensure the security of your personal information. This statement outlines the policies and procedures with respect to collecting, using, and disclosing personal information according to Fair Information Practices/Principles set out by Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information (CAN/CSA-Q830-96).
Information we collect about you is governed by one or more of the following three laws:
- Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7 (HPPA)
- Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M56 (MFIPPA)
- Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004, S.O. 2004, c. 3, Sch. A (PHIPA)
Individual Access to Information
You can ask to see the personal information/personal health information we have on record for you. You can also make corrections, if needed.
To make a request under MFIPPA or PHIPA:
If you’ve been working with one of our programs or staff members, please contact that person/program first. Otherwise, contact:
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit
1005 Ouellette Avenue
Windsor, Ontario N9A 4J8
(519) 258-2146, Ext. 1476
Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA)
Under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, we must protect your personal information that we keep on paper or in an electronic file. The Act gives you the right to access most general records and records containing your own personal information, with specific exceptions. You also have the right to correct your personal information if you believe it’s inaccurate.
Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA)
Personal health information is any detail about your health or health history. It could include:
- Your name, address, or date of birth
- Your health card number
- Facts about your health, healthcare history
- Payment details for health-related services
Public Health is a “custodian”, or keeper, of health information. This means we must follow strict rules about how we collect, store, use, and disclose (share) personal health information. These rules are found in the Personal Health Information Act 2004 (PHIPA).
Our Medical Officer of Health (MOH) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) are responsible for keeping personal health information private and confidential. All staff working at the WECHU must also follow PHIPA.
Why and when we collect your information:
When we collect your personal health information, we do so to promote and protect health, and to prevent disease.
Specifically, we might use it to:
- Plan, deliver, and evaluate our healthcare services
- Manage risks to other people or to the community
Details that aren’t linked directly to you might also be used to:
- Strengthen our research
- Make administrative decisions
- Plan for the future
- Allocate resources
When we collect your personal information, we do so through:
- Face-to-face meetings
- The phone
- Written materials
- Electronic documents
Disclosure of Information:
We may disclose your information to other health units, or to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Personal health information may also be shared with healthcare providers. Providers may use this information to plan and deliver their services, or manage potential health risks.
Sharing information in these ways is allowed under the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
Information will not be disclosed to persons outside of the WECHU without your knowledge and consent, with only a few exceptions. These exceptions include circumstances in which disclosure is justified by law and allowed by professional ethical standards (e.g., risk of serious bodily harm), or required by law (e.g., reporting a child in need of protection; a court order to release information from a record).
If however, in the opinion of the WECHU staff member, the information is reasonably necessary for another health provider to provide appropriate service, our staff member is required by law to inform the other provider that you have refused consent to provide some needed information.
External researchers will not be provided access to information that can be identified as being about you, unless you consent to such access.
How we store your information:
Part of keeping your information secure is safe storage. We keep paper records in locked files, in secure areas. If records are electronic, access is only granted on a need-to-know basis, and requires a strong password encryption to login the system. For more information, please contact our Privacy Officer at 519-258-2146 ext. 1476.
If you have a complaint
We’re committed to addressing your concerns about the way your personal health information is collected, used, or shared. If you have questions about this privacy statement, our privacy policies, or procedures, please contact our Privacy Officer at 519-258-2146 ext. 1476.
You can also make a complaint directly with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC). For more information, visit the IPC website.
Information and Privacy Commissioner /Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, ON M4W 1A8
1-800-387-0073 or 416-326-3333
Reference : Some elements of this Privacy Statement have been adapted with permission from: https://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/about/privacy