As of 2012, all public hospitals must comply with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) (opens in new window). Under this legislation, GRH is responsible to account for all of the records it holds, and to provide access to those records – with some exemptions and exclusions.
What is ‘personal information’ under FIPPA?
Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. It includes, but is not limited to, basic details such as name, address, gender, age and marital status, as well as health information, education and employment history, and financial data. It also includes opinions about an individual (e.g. letters of reference).
Do I access my personal health records through FIPPA?
FIPPA does not replace existing procedures for accessing health records under the Personal Health Information and Protection of Privacy Act (PHIPA). Personal health information (PHI) can be accessed by contacting the Release of Information office in the Health Records department.
Is any personal information considered ‘public’?
Business contact information, including the name, title, and business address or telephone number of an employee of a public organization, is not considered personal information.
What kind of broader information about Grand River Hospital can I access under FIPPA?
With the introduction of this access legislation, individuals have a much broader right of access to records held by hospitals. For example, an individual may request access to records relating to:
- Administrative and operational functions
- Financial considerations and decisions
Some information about the hospital is made readily available to the public without making a formal FIPPA request.
Where can I find out what kinds of records GRH holds?
Under FIPPA, GRH must publish a current inventory of the records it holds. You can access the following documents (in Adobe PDF format):
What are some examples of information that is exempt or excluded from access legislation?
Exclusions: some records do not fall under FIPPA, so the Act does not apply. In addition, there are mandatory and discretionary exemptions for other types of records:
- FIPPA does not apply to personal health information (PHI). This access is governed by PHIPA.
- Certain labour relations or employment related records may be excluded
- Personal information (PI), other than that of the requestor, may be excluded
- Third party information where certain conditions are satisfied
- Information that is supplied under solicitor-client privilege
How do I request information under FIPPA?
- Download and complete a FIPPA application form (opens in PDF format).
- Describe the records you wish to access as specifically as possible. Include your name, address and telephone (or fax) number where you can be reached.
- Sign the form and keep a copy for your reference.
- Mail the completed form with the $5 application fee to the address below, or bring your form and fee into the GRH health records department: GRH Privacy and Access Office, P.O Box 9056, 835 King St. West, Kitchener, ON, N2G 1G3
When will I get a response to my FIPPA request?
In most cases, you should receive a response from GRH within 30 days, unless GRH requires a time extension. If you do not receive a response within the 30 day period, you may submit a complaint to the Information and Privacy Commission via their website (opens in new window).
Are there any other fees and how do I find out if I will be charged?
The hospital is allowed to charge a fee (in addition to the $5 application fee), for reasonable cost recovery related to the provision of records under FIPPA. If a fee will be charged for the records you request, the hospital will send you a fee estimate before providing the service. You will have 30 days to notify the hospital if you wish to pay the fee or want to modify the request in order to reduce the fee. If the fee is expected to exceed $100 you may be asked to send in 50% of the fee before the hospital proceeds in processing your request.
Who can I contact for more information?
For more information or if you have an access concern, contact a privacy and access coordinator at 519-749-4275 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. GRH’s chief privacy officer can also be contacted at this number or email address.
We will look into any problems you may have with our access practices and take action to address your concerns.