Notice of Privacy and Health Information Practices (PHIPA)

Collection of Personal Health Information

Niagara Region Public Health and the Medical Officer of Health for Niagara recognize protecting your personal health information is an essential part of our commitment to quality public health services, programs, and care.

We believe our clients should know what personal health information we collect, how we use it, to who we disclose it, and how we protect it. Ontario's Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), Bill 31 became effective November 1, 2004.

What is Personal Health Information?

The kind of personal health information collected may include:

  • name, address, date of birth, and Ontario health card number;
  • facts about health, health care, and history related to exposures to disease; and,
  • information about payment for health care, when required for certain public health services.

Occasionally, in support of your health care, other personal health information may be collected from other sources, provided we have received your consent or if the law permits.

Who does Niagara Region Public Health share/disclose information to?

Niagara Region Public Health shares and/or discloses information to ensure you receive appropriate public health care. We may share information with public health and other health care programs and services; healthcare providers; and, substitute decision makers you may have designated.

Can you refuse to provide information?

Yes. The choice to share personal health information is yours. However your decision to withhold information may limit our ability to meet your needs.

What will Niagara Region Public Health do with the information?

To meet your identified needs and provide services to you, there may be a need to communicate with the health team involved in your care. (circle of care) The consent you sign with Niagara Region Public Health is to share information for the following purposes:

  • Assist or provide health care;
  • Plan or deliver health programs or services;
  • Arrange referrals;
  • Public health administration and program monitoring;
  • Administer and manage the health care system;
  • Meet the legal requirements related to the function of the Medical Officer of Health and Board of Health pursuant to the Health Protection and Promotion Act;
  • Statistics for programming, surveillance or research (personal information not used, generic data only) ;
  • Comply with legal and regulatory requirements;
  • Arrange payment for your treatment and care (from OHIP, WSIB, your private insurer or others);
  • Teach healthcare professional students; and
  • Fulfill other purposes permitted or required by law.

Disclosure of your personal health information beyond the above would require Niagara Region Public Health to ask you for additional consent. If you identify any exceptions to the sharing of information, it will be recorded and respected.

How does Niagara Region Public Health protect my health records?

If you are receiving services at one of our sites, the record will be kept in a secure location at that site. Once you are no longer receiving Niagara Region Public Health services, your health record will be stored at the office and then at a secure offsite location. Niagara Region Public Health follows detailed policies and practices to ensure confidentiality, retention and destruction of personal information and takes all reasonable steps to protect your personal health information from loss, unauthorized access, destruction or alteration.

Can I view my health record for any changes or corrections?

Yes. Niagara Region Public Health staff will make every effort to ensure that your personal health information is accurate, complete and up-to-date. If there are changes to your information please notify us as soon as possible, as we have a procedure that outlines how you may access, verify, and correct the record. Inquiries of this nature are to be directed to the MFIPPA/PHIPA Coordinator (contact information below).

How can I request access to my health record?

If you have any questions or anything is unclear, please ask a Niagara Region Public Health staff member for clarification or for further direction. If your health record is in the office, you may request to review it in writing.

Complete the Request to Access Personal Health Information Form, print off a copy, and return to the MFIPPA/PHIPA Coordinator. Contact information is listed below.

Niagara Region Public Health may take up to 30 days to respond to your request, will request photo identification to ensure your confidentiality, and ask you to sign a release for the record. There is no charge for obtaining your own personal health information.

What if I disagree with the information entered in my file?

To request a correction of your personal information, you should complete a Request Form or write a letter stating that you are requesting the correction of your personal information under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA). Submit your Request Form or letter to the Freedom of Information / Privacy Co-coordinator for Niagara Region, along with the required $5 request fee payable to the "Niagara Region".

FOI/P Coordinator
Niagara Region
c/o Clerk's Office
Sir Isaac Brock Way
P.O. Box 1042
Thorold, ON L2V 4T7
Email Freedom of Information / Privacy Coordinator

For more information, visit the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario's correction page.

What if I disagree with the way my personal health information has been handled or I was not given access to my file within a reasonable amount of time?

A complaint can be filed by sending a completed Access/Correction Complaint Form or writing to the IPC Registrar, within six months from the time when the health information custodian refused or was deemed to have refused the request.

For more information visit the Information and Privacy Commissioner's complaints page.

Personal Health Information relating to Seasonal Flu Immunization Clinics

You are providing your personal health information as part of the vaccination process. There are laws to protect your privacy and here is how we follow them:

  • Only your first and last name, date of birth, gender, and address are being collected from your Driver's Licence.
  • Only your first and last name, date of birth, gender, Health Card number and expiration date are being collected from your Health Card.
  • You can provide the necessary information verbally, but using the cards makes the process faster.
  • If you do not have identification with you, services will still be provided.
  • All personal health information you provide is securely and confidentially stored by Niagara Region Public Health. It is collected to ensure you are eligible for vaccination and may be disclosed only to your family physician, with your consent, as record that you have received this vaccination. We use your Health Card number, when provided, as part of identifying you uniquely.
  • You are also being asked to consent to the collection of your dosage, age and gender information to provide non-identifying statistical information to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for public health administration purposes. Privacy laws allow this type of reporting and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care requires it.

    *Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA), Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA)

How to Contact Us

If you wish to obtain more information, make an information request for your own personal health information or speak to someone about privacy issues, please contact Niagara Region's Corporate Privacy Office:

MFIPPA/PHIPA Coordinator
The Regional Municipality of Niagara
Sir Isaac Brock Way, P.O. Box 1042
Thorold, ON L2V 4T7
Tel: 905-980-6000 or 1-800-263-7215
Fax: 905-687-4977

You also have the right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario if you think that Niagara Region Public Health have violated your rights. The Commissioner can be reached at:

Ontario Information and Privacy Commission
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario M4W 1A8
Tel: 416-326-3333
Fax: 416-325-9195

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