The Medical Officer of Health (MOH) is the Health Information Custodian for Toronto Public Health (TPH), a Division of the City of Toronto. This means, under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA), the MOH has the responsibility to ensure that personal health information is collected, used, stored and shared with full regard for the protection of privacy and the confidentiality of personal health information. This obligation to protect the privacy of personal health information extends to persons who act as agents of the MOH.
The MOH collects personal health information from clients and other authorized persons to promote and protect health, and to prevent disease. The kind of personal health information collected may include:
Personal health information may be collected through a face-to-face meeting with a TPH staff person, over the phone, through written papers and/or electronic systems. All documentation of personal health information by TPH is recorded on paper and/or electronically and complies with internal policies and procedures.
Toronto Public Health uses a variety of provincial shared electronic health systems to collect, record, and verify information used for our services. These systems are securely hosted in Government of Ontario data centres.
TPH is mandated by the Ontario government under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to provide disease prevention, health promotion and health protection programs and services to the residents of the City of Toronto.
The main use of personal health information collected by TPH is to plan, deliver and evaluate appropriate health care and services for individuals. When necessary, personal health information may be shared within TPH to provide care and investigate and manage potential risks to others or to the population at large. Non-identifying information related to clients’ care and services is used for administration, management, strategic planning, decision-making, research and allocation of resources.
Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, TPH can disclose personal health information to other health units and to the provincial Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Personal health information may also be shared with health care providers to plan and deliver health care or investigate and manage potential health risks to others.
All personal health information is kept private. Unless the law requires disclosure or authorizes sharing of health information with others, TPH cannot and will not give out any personal health information without the consent of the individual involved. If consent is given to let a family member or legal representative have access to personal health information, these representatives may have access to those parts of the personal record that have been identified in the consent. Individuals have the right to withdraw or change the conditions of consent, subject to provisions set out in the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA).
Personal health information is kept secure by TPH. All paper records are stored in locked files and/or secured areas. All electronic records require a password for access and are maintained in secure information systems. Personal health information records are retained according to City of Toronto policies and procedures.
Individuals who wish to access or correct their personal health information, or who have questions about how it is collected, maintained, used or disclosed, are encouraged to contact their health care provider in Toronto Public Health.
Individuals may also make a written request for access or to correct personal health information under PHIPA.
Toronto Public Health is committed to resolving all concerns or complaints and encourages individuals to first contact the department involved. An individual’s concerns or complaints about access or privacy practices within TPH may be directed to the Manager of the individual’s health care provider or program. For general concerns or complaints about privacy practices, individuals are encouraged to contact the TPH Privacy Officer.
Individuals may also lodge a complaint regarding access or privacy practices of TPH directly with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC):
Information and Privacy Commissioner / Ontario
2 Bloor St. E., Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario M4W 1A8
If you have any questions about our information practices or wish to make a request, contact:
TPH Privacy Officer
277 Victoria St., 4th Floor
Toronto, ON M5B 1W2