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Your Personal Health Information and Privacy

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1. Privacy

The term “personal information” includes both personal information and personal health information.

For a complete list of what is included or excluded in the definition for these terms, please see section 24 of The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and clause 2(m) of The Health Information Protection Act

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2. Our Commitment to Privacy

The Ministry of Health takes your privacy seriously. We are committed to safeguarding the privacy and confidentiality of the personal information we collect about you.

Each time your personal information is collected, used, or disclosed by the Ministry, it is done so for a specific purpose. Only those employees who have a need to know a specific piece of your personal information have access to that information. The Ministry has also established policies and/or practices which further ensure your information is kept private and confidential.

Your confidentiality is important to us. As a condition of employment, all Provincial Government staff must sign an Oath of Office. By taking this oath, staff are affirming that any information and/or documents they are privy to during their employment with the Government of Saskatchewan will be kept confidential. Saskatchewan Health also takes additional steps to educate its staff regarding privacy rules and practices associated with handling personal information.

Any personal information you provide to the Ministry of Health, or the Ministry receives from one of its health partners, is collected, used or disclosed in accordance with The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and/or The Health Information Protection Act. 

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3. Your Right to Access or Amend Personal Information

Both The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and The Health Information Protection Act provide you with certain rights regarding the information the Ministry holds about you. You have a right to request access to any of your personal information held by Saskatchewan Health and you have the right to inform the Ministry of any errors or omissions.

In limited situations, we may have to deny some or all of your request to see, or receive copies of your records. In such a case we will tell you in writing why we are denying access to some or all of your records and explain your right to appeal this decision. Depending upon the nature of your request, a fee may be charged. The Ministry of Health will contact you in advance to notify you of any charges in advance of satisfying your request.

If you believe there is a mistake in the information we hold about you or that important information is missing, you may request that we correct or add to your record. If we approve your request, we will make the correction or addition to our records. If we deny your request, we will tell you why and explain how you may appeal this decision. 

Use the Access to Information Request Form to request information about who has viewed your personal health information. 

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4. Freedom of Information Requests

Find out about the process for accessing records held by government.

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act enables any person to apply for access to records held by government institutions. The Policy and Planning Branch co-ordinates all information requests related to Saskatchewan Health.

To obtain information:

  • Obtain an Access to Information Request Form at Saskatchewan Health, Partnerships and Workforce Planning Branch, 3rd Floor, 3475 Albert Street Regina SK S4S 6X6 or any government institution. Or download the form. Application forms can also be mailed to you via telephone request.
  • Complete an application form with enough information to enable Saskatchewan Health to locate the records you are looking for.
  • Submit the completed Access to Information Request Form to Saskatchewan Health. You will receive a response within 30 days.
  • There is no application fee. However, the Act provides for the payment of certain limited fees to address the costs associated with searching, reviewing, and preparing records to satisfy access to information requests.

    For example: processing fees are $15.00 per half hour after the first two hours; photocopy charges are $0.25 per page.
  • A written cost estimate will be provided in advance if the costs are expected to exceed $50.00. No action will be taken without authorization to proceed.
Once Saskatchewan Health has responded to your access request, you have one year from the date of this response to request a review of the response. You may do so by completing a "Request for Review" form and submitting it to Mr. Ronald J. Kruzeniski, Q.C., Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner, #503-1801 Hamilton Street, Regina, Saskatchewan, S4P 4B4
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5. Health Information Protection Act

HIPA legislates privacy protection and obligations of trustees in the health system.

The privacy and protection of your personal health information has always been a priority in Saskatchewan. When you receive health services in the province, you rightfully expect that government institutions, health providers, and administrators provide the highest level of protection regarding the use, disclosure and safekeeping of your personal health information.

Legislation called The Health Information Protection Act (HIPA) was developed and came into force on September 1, 2003 to protect the privacy of your personal health information. At the same time, the Act ensures that information is available when needed to provide you with services and to monitor, evaluate and improve the health system in Saskatchewan.

The Health Information Protection Act identifies specific rights that individuals have with respect to their personal health information. These rights are important because they ensure that you will be involved in decisions about your personal health information.

HIPA also places duties or responsibilities on organizations and individuals in the health system to protect the privacy of any personal health information they have about you. In doing so, they must also make sure that your rights are respected.

HIPA applies to individuals and organizations who are part of Saskatchewan’s health system and who have custody or control of personal health information. The Act calls them trustees to reflect the fact that they hold your personal health information “in trust” and must manage it with your best interests in mind.

Examples of a trustee include:

  • Government institutions in Saskatchewan;
  • Hospitals;
  • Health professionals (e.g. physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists);
  • Ambulance operators.

The Act also applies to personal health information in the custody or control of a trustee. Personal health information is information about your physical or mental health as well as information gathered in the course of providing you with a health service. It also includes information collected to register you for a service (name, address, gender, date of birth). Your health services number on your health card is also considered to be personal health information under HIPA. Personal health information can be in any form, including traditional paper records, electronic records on computers, microfilm, x-ray film to name a few.

Examples of personal health information include:

  • The medical record held by a physician;
  • A patient record held by a hospital;
  • Registration information held by Saskatchewan Health to register individuals for insured services;
  • Records of prescriptions filled by a pharmacist.

Rights of individuals

The Health Information Protection Act describes a number of rights that you have with respect to your personal health information. These rights include:

  • The right to consent to use and disclosure. It should be noted that there are circumstances identified in HIPA where consent of the individual is not required for use or disclosure of an individual’s personal health information.
  • The right to revoke consent to the use or disclosure.
  • The right to prevent access to a comprehensive health record.
  • The right to be informed by trustees about anticipated uses and disclosures.
  • The right to be informed about disclosures without consent.
  • The right to refuse to provide the Health Services Number as identification for a non-health service.
  • The right to access personal health information about oneself.
  • The right to request amendments to records of personal health information about oneself.
  • The right to request a review by the Information and Privacy Commissioner about a decision by a trustee.
  • The right to appeal to a court the decisions of a trustee.
  • The right to designate another person to make decisions about one’s personal health information. 
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6. Duty Of Trustees

The Health Information Protection Act requires a trustee to protect the privacy of personal health information in their custody and to respect the rights of individuals identified in the Act. Trustees must follow all the rules regarding collection, use, disclosure, storage, retention and destruction of records containing personal health information.

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7. Collection use and disclosure of your personal health information

HIPA identifies several rules that trustees must follow for the collection, use and disclosure of your personal health information. Among others some of these rules include:

  • The primary purpose for collecting personal health information must be for the benefit of the individual.
  • Trustees should only collect, use or disclose personal health information that they need to know to provide you with a service.
  • Trustees must also have practices in place that will protect the safekeeping of personal health information. 
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8. Questions or Concerns about Privacy

Questions or Concerns about Privacy?

If you have questions about how your personal information is collected, used or disclosed for a particular program or service, or if you wish to review the personal information the Ministry has about you, contact the Ministry Branch that collects and/or uses your personal information first. If you are not sure whom to contact, please call our general inquiry line at 1-800-667-7766.

If you still have questions about how your personal information is collected, used or disclosed by the Ministry, you may contact Saskatchewan Health’s Privacy Officer at:

      Saskatchewan Health
      Privacy Officer
      3475 Albert Street
      Regina SK S4S 6X6
      telephone: 306-787-2137 
      fax: 306-787-4534 
      e-mail: Health.InfoPrivacy&AccessHelp@health.gov.sk.ca  

Should you continue to have questions or concerns about how the Ministry is handling your personal information, you may contact the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner to request a review.

      Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner
      503-1801 Hamilton St
      Regina SK S4P 4B4
      telephone: 306-787-8350
      toll free telephone: 1-877-748-2298
      fax: 306-798-1603
      e-mail: webmaster@oipc.sk.ca

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