Ensuring privacy and confidentiality is a key priority in my practice. I am committed to collecting, using, and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent needed for the services I provide.
What is personal information?
Personal information is information about a specific individual. This includes a person’s characteristics (e.g., age, gender, address, etc), health information (medical history, health conditions), as well as activities and views (e.g., religion, opinions expressed by an individual). Personal information is protected by both federal and provincial legislation: the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), respectively.
Reasons for collecting personal information
The primary purpose for collecting personal information is to provide psychological services. It would be rare for me to collect any information without the client’s expressed consent, but this may occur in an emergency situation or if I believed the client would consent if asked (e..g., a family member passing a message on from a client). I may also collect, use or disclose personal information to bill clients or to access third-party payers (e.g., insurance companies). Personal information is always kept in a secure manner (e.g., paper information in locked and secured areas, computer files secured and password protected).
Limits to protecting personal information
With the exceptions below, personal information is not shared with anyone without your consent. There are however specific situations where I may be required to release information without consent, related to:
· Children at risk of abuse or neglect
· Client at risk of suicide or harm to others
· Sexual abuse by another regulated health professional
· College of Psychologists of Ontario requests
· Court orders
Retention and destruction of files
Psychologists are required to keep files for 10 years after the 18th birthday of a child under the age of 18 at the time of the provision of service.
Reviewing your personal information
With very few exceptions, you have the right to see the information in your (your child’s) file. If you believe there is a mistake, you have the right to ask that it be corrected; this applies only to factual information and not professional opinions.
Raising a concern
If you have a concern with respect to a privacy issue, I ask that you first raise the concern with me. If I cannot address your concern to your satisfaction, you may contact my regulatory body:
The College of Psychologists of Ontario
110 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 500
Toronto, ON M4R 1A3
Tel.: (800) 489-8388
Fax.: (416) 961-2635
For general inquiries about privacy legislation, you can contact:
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Canada
112 Kent Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 1H3
Tel.: (800) 282-1376
Fax.: (613) 947-6850