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Privacy Policy

INFORMATION PRIVACY - Our Commitment - Web

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit is committed to protecting the privacy of individuals with respect to their personal information, including personal health information, and to providing individuals with access to their information.

The Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 and the Municipal Freedom of Information Act, 1991 set out the obligations on the part of the heath unit and the rights of individuals in relation to information privacy and access.

COLLECTING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

The Health Unit collects personal information in the course of doing business.  Personal information about you is collected directly from you, or from the person acting on your behalf.  When we collect personal information, we will explain how we intend to use the information and we will limit the information collected to what is needed for those purposes.

Personal information collected may include, for example, your name, date of birth, record of employment and employment history. Examples of personal health information the may be collected include your name, date of birth, address, health history, and information you provide during visits or calls to the health unit.

GIVING CONSENT

You have the right to consent to how your personal information is collected, used and shared except in specific circumstances where the law authorizes health care providers to collect, use or share a person’s information without consent such as reporting for public safety.

In most cases health unit staff will request your consent – either verbally, in writing or electronically – for the collection, use and sharing of your personal information.  This request for consent will follow a complete explanation of the purposes for which the information is being collected, used and shared.

When you access our clinic services such as sexual health and immunization or counseling services including Health Connection and Healthy Babies Healthy Children, health unit staff may assume that you give consent for the sharing of your personal information with other Simcoe Muskoka District health Unit providers who are involved in your care unless you state otherwise.  This may occur without directly asking you for your consent or requiring you to sign a consent.

You may withdraw your consent at any time for the use and sharing of your information by contacting us.

USING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

We use your personal information to:

  • treat and care for you
  • provide public health services
  • arrange payment for specific clinical services (e.g. OHIP)
  • comply with the Immunization of School Pupils Act,1982
We may use health information without personal identifying information to:
  • conduct risk management and quality improvement activities
  • plan, administer and manage our programs and services
  • teach, conduct research and compile statistics
  • comply with legal and regulatory requirements
  • fulfill other purposes permitted or required by law

We may share your personal information with other persons:

  • where we have your consent
  • where we are required to do so by law
  • where the agency merges with another public agency

When a legal inquiry or order is received, we ensure that the order is valid and we disclose only the information that is legally required.

PROTECTING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION

We protect your personal information with appropriate safeguards and security measures.  We take steps to protect your personal information from theft or loss and from unauthorized access, copying, modification, use, disclosure and disposal  We also take steps to ensure that your personal information is only used for the purposes you have consented to.  We will retain your personal information in accordance with legal requirements and for the time required for the purposes identified.

As part of our employment contracts, employees, volunteers, students and service providers are bound by an oath of confidentiality and familiar with the procedures that must be taken to safeguard personal information.  We conduct audits and complete investigations to monitor and manage compliance with our stated policies.

ACCESSING AND CORRECTING YOUR INFORMATION

Your Right To Access
You have the right to access your personal information.  If you want to see your records, you may make an informal request to a specific service or program.  If you are not satisfied with the response you receive and you wish to make a formal request, forward your request in writing to the health unit Privacy Officer.

We will make every effort to respond to your formal request within thirty (30) days.  In some cases, we may require an extension of up to thirty (30) days.  The health unit may charge a fee to recover the costs of accessing and providing your records.

There are certain circumstances where the health unit may deny you access to your personal information held by the agency or to a part of the record of your personal information.  If this is the case, we will provide you with a letter of explanation.  If you are not satisfied with the decision, you may make a complaint to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

Correcting Personal Information
We will make every reasonable effort to keep the record of your personal information accurate and up-to-date.  If you believe that this information is not accurate or complete, you may make a request to have it corrected.  The health unit must correct an incomplete record but we are not required to change documented professional opinions or to correct records that were not created by health unit employees.

RESPONDING TO YOUR PRIVACY CONCERNS

For more information about our information practices or to raise a concern you have regarding your information privacy or access contact:

The Office of the Privacy Officer
Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
15 Sperling Drive
Barrie ON
L4M 6K9
Tel: 705-721-7520
Fax: 705-721-1495

If you believe we have violated your rights, you have the right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.  The Commissioner can be reached at:

2 Bloor Street east, Suite 1400
Toronto, ON 
M4W 1A8
Tel: 416-326-3333 or 1-800-387-0073
Fax 416-325-9195

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