Letter to Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner
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The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, sent the following letter to Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, regarding the handling of complaints under PHIPA and PIPEDA as of November 1, 2004.
January 26, 2005
Dr. Ann Cavoukian
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Dear Dr. Cavoukian:
Re: Handling of Complaints under PHIPA and PIPEDA as of November 1, 2004
Thank you for your letter of December 3, concerning Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA) and how our respective offices will handle complaints.
This letter will confirm how our office intends to handle complaints currently and how we would handle them should a declaration of substantially similar be made by the federal government.
- The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has a legal obligation to apply PIPEDA. Therefore, the OPC may take complaints relating to private sector organizations in Ontario that collect, use or disclose personal health information in the course of commercial activity prior to any declaration of substantially similar status.
- The OPC will inform complainants of the possibility of complaining directly to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC/O) concerning the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information in the course of a commercial activity post November 1, 2004, and that once any order of substantially similar status is made, such complaints that clearly fall under PHIPA will be transferred to the IPC/O.
- If the complainant wishes to proceed federally, the OPC will open a complaint file. However, the OPC will inform the parties to the complaint that once any order of substantially similar status is made, the complaint and its file will be transferred to IPC/O. If the investigation is complete at the time of any such declaration, OPC will issue a finding.
- The OPC will deal currently, and subsequent to any order of substantially similar status, with complaints arising from the collection, use or disclosure of personal health information in the course of a commercial activity, together with complaints concerning access to such personal information, between January 1, 2004 and October 31, 2004.
- The OPC will deal with complaints currently, and subsequent to any order of substantially similar status, concerning federal works, undertakings or businesses (FWUBs).
- Complaints regarding inter-provincial issues will be handled by OPC at present. Subsequent to any order of substantially similar status, complaints will be handled as per arrangements worked out between our respective offices.
- There may be occasion for the offices to undertake independent investigations to deal with an issue that falls under both jurisdictions. The offices may work out arrangements to provide for mechanisms for the handling of any such complaint in which they are mutually interested.
I recognize that these practices may change over time and I am confident that our respective offices will continue to work together, engaging in discussion and meeting as frequently as is necessary or required. I will be posting this letter on our website to ensure that everyone is aware of our understanding.
We look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that the privacy rights of individuals are protected effectively.
Privacy Commissioner of Canada
c.c. Provincial Privacy Commissioners
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