Policy Details

When we collect your information as part of delivering public health services, we will follow the expectations set out for us in the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 1990 and Personal Health Information Protection Act

We collect information under these Acts for the purpose of providing programs and services in agreement with the Health Protection and Promotion Act and the Ontario Public Health Standards.

Accountability:  We will make sure that all our staff, or other organizations who work with us, follow our privacy and confidentiality policy.

If you have questions about the collection and use of your information you can contact the Privacy Officer, Southwestern Public Health, at 519-631-9900.

Identifying Purpose: We will clearly tell you why we are collecting your information, before we collect it, and we will get your permission first.

Consent: You may choose to stop us from collecting and sharing your information. If you refuse, it may affect our ability to help you. Staff will tell you the potential consequences of not sharing your information with us or other health care providers.

Limiting Collection: Your information is collected according to the law and its collection, use and storage is limited to what we told you we were using it for. Sometimes, information that is collected to provide programs and services is used for research and/or reported to the province. If this happens, we will let you know by telling you in person or in writing. When information is used for research or statistics, it is anonymous – your name is not included.

Use and Disclosure:  Your information will not be shared, used, stored or disclosed for purposes other than that we told you it would be used for, except with your permission (or the permission of your authorized representative), when special circumstances apply or as required by law. 

With approval of the Privacy Officer, staff may also share information in compassionate circumstances, to allow contact with the next of kin or a friend of an individual who is injured, ill or deceased. 

Retention: Your information will be kept only for the time period required by law.

Accuracy: Your information will be accurate, complete and up to date.

You are responsible for telling us if your information such as name, address or contact information has changed so that we can update our files.

You may question us if you don’t think we’ve got your information right. You can also ask us to correct it. However, some information may require supporting evidence and the Privacy Officer may decide to add your statement to the file rather than change your record.

Safeguards:  Your information will be protected from unauthorized access by safeguards that are appropriate for the sensitivity of the information collected.

You should tell us immediately when you believe your information has not been handled properly.

Openness: We will answer any of your questions about our use of your information.    

Individual Access:  You can ask to see your own information. Parents or legal guardians may access information about their child when the child is under 16 years old.

Challenging Compliance: If you feel your privacy has not been protected you can talk to the Privacy Officer. If you are still unsatisfied, you may contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. The process for making an appeal to the Privacy Commissioner is described on the Commissioner’s website.

Research: We may permit valid research using Health Unit records. Any research that is conducted by an outside agency must be approved by a research ethics board. The researchers must also follow this policy.

Last Updated: October 30, 2019