federal government should look to Ontario's privacy legislation when
devising better ways to safeguard Canadians' health information, the
province's information and privacy commissioner said Tuesday.
Ann Cavoukian was responding to an editorial in Monday's issue of the
Canadian Medical Association Journal outlining recent privacy
violations at Veterans Affairs.
The editors expressed concern that the federal Privacy Act does not
sufficiently protect the health information of people like Sean Buryea,
the Gulf War veteran whose personal medical information was included in
the briefing notes of Veterans Affairs officials without regard for his
They suggested looking to countries such as the U.K. for examples of stronger privacy safeguards.
But Cavoukian says a better solution can be found closer to home,
saying Ontario's Personal Health Information Protection Act, or PHIPA,
could serve as the blueprint for the changes.
Cavoukian said that unlike the federal act, the province's privacy act:
jurisdictions, including the U.S., Newfoundland and Labrador and New
Brunswick, have already used Ontario's act as a model for changing their
health privacy legislation, the commissioner noted.