Information and Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton has concerns with some proposed amendments to the Health Information Act (HIA) that if passed as written could increase risks to Albertans’ privacy.
In a letter sent to Minister of Health Tyler Shandro, Clayton described the potential problems posed by certain amendments. Clayton also outlined proposed amendments she supports.
“While many jurisdictions around the world are introducing new or enhanced privacy laws to build public trust and ensure accountability mechanisms are in place to protect personal or health information, many of the proposed amendments to HIA are heading in the other direction,” said Clayton. “Alberta has been considered a leader in health information privacy law and we should aspire to remain that way in the years to come.”
The proposed amendments to HIA are contained in Bill 46, Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (No. 2). Clayton is particularly concerned with proposed amendments that:
“I am hopeful that the government will either make amendments to the bill or ideally pause deliberations to allow for further consultation on the implications these proposed amendments have for the protection of Albertans’ health information,” said Clayton.
Despite the concerns raised, Clayton supported some amendments, including a change to the limitation period for offences, removing the “imminence test” for disclosing health information to prevent significant harm, and increasing accountability for researchers to comply with research agreements they have signed with a health custodian.
Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta
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