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Domestic privacy authorities pass resolution to secure public trust in digital health infrastructure

September 21, 2022

Canadian privacy authorities meeting in St. John’s, N.L., this week called on governments and health institutions across the country to work together to make digital health record-keeping “modern, secure and interoperable.”

Privacy Commissioner of Canada Philippe Dufresne, along with his provincial and territorial counterparts, endorsed a resolution that encourages governments to implement a digital health communication infrastructure that would phase out the use of unencrypted email and fax communication in favour of more secure alternatives, and ensure that the new framework is available to all Canadians.

The resolution notes that the pandemic has spurred rapid digital advancements in the delivery of services. At the same time, data breaches in the health sector continue, potentially leading to harms including discrimination, stigmatization, and financial and psychological distress.

The privacy authorities say the new data governance frameworks need to provide reasonable protection for sensitive health information, and that laws and regulations should be amended to provide for meaningful penalties for institutions and providers that fail to take the necessary measures to protect health information.

See the resolution for further details.

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