Privacy Policy

Principle 1- Accountability

Timiskaming Home Support is responsible for personal health information under its control and has designated an individual, the Chief Privacy Officer, to be accountable for Timiskaming Home Support’s compliance with the following privacy principles:

Accountability for Timiskaming Home Support’s compliance with the privacy policy rests with the Chief Privacy Officer, although other individuals at Timiskaming Home Support are responsible for the day-to-day collection and processing of personal health information. All staff share responsibility for adhering to Timiskaming Home Support’s privacy policies and procedures.

The name of the Chief Privacy Officer designated by Timiskaming Home Support to oversee compliance with its privacy policy is a matter of public record.

1.3 Timiskaming Home Support is responsible for personal health information in its possession or custody, including information used by all employees, volunteers and other agents.

1.4 Timiskaming Home Support is responsible for ensuring that its employees, volunteers and other agents are informed of Timiskaming Home Support’s information practices and know their responsibilities relating to the collection use and disclosure of personal health information.

1.5 Timiskaming Home Support has written information practices in place that describe the organization’s information management practices. These practices are available to the public.

1.6 Timiskaming Home Support has policies and practices in place to receive and respond to complaints and inquiries.

Principle 2 – Identifying Purposes

Timiskaming Home Support will identify the purposes for the collection of personal health information at or before the time the information is collected. The purposes for collection include:

  • Make decisions about the types of services you need
  • Provide direct patient care
  • Communicate with other service providers
  • Monitor provision of services and evaluate your response to services provided
  • Administer hospital services, strategic planning, quality control, research, teaching, risk management, allocate resources within the organization, and verify eligibility for services
  • Verify eligibility for payment by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
  • Meet legal and regulatory requirements

2.1 The identified purposes are specified at or before the time of collection to the individual from whom the personal health information is collected. Depending upon the way in which the information is collected, this can be done orally or in writing. Upon admission, for example, a notice or brochure identifying the purposes may be posted or given to the individual.

2.2 When personal health information that has been collected is to be used or disclosed for a purpose not previously identified for which consent is required, the new purpose will be identified prior to use or disclosure. Unless the new purpose complies with the purposes identified, the consent of the individual will be obtained before the information will be used for another purpose.

2.3 Persons collecting personal health information will be able to explain to individuals the purposes for which the information is being collected.

Principle 3 – Consent

The knowledge and consent of the individual are required for the collection, use or disclosure of personal health information, as noted below.

Note: In certain circumstances personal health information can be collected, used, or disclosed without the knowledge and consent of the individual. For example, legal, medical, or security reasons may make it impossible or impractical to seek consent. Acquiring consent may be impossible or inappropriate when the individual is a minor, cognitively impaired, seriously ill or psychotic and the Substitute Decision Maker is not available. Timiskaming Home Support will follow the rules provided in the Health Care Consent Act, the Substitute Decisions Act and the Personal Health Information and Protection Act.

3.1 Consent may be expressed or implied.

3.2 When Timiskaming Home Support receives personal health information from the individual, the individual’s Substitute Decision Maker, or another health information custodian for the purposes of providing health care, Timiskaming Home Support will assume that the individual implies consent to collect, use and disclose the information as necessary for that purpose unless the individual has expressly withheld or withdrawn consent.

3.3 When a person’s consent is required for collecting, using or disclosing personal health information, it will be knowledgeable, relate to the information, and not be obtained through coercion or deception. A consent is knowledgeable if it is reasonable to believe, in the circumstances, that the individual knows the purposes of the collection, use or disclosure, as the case may be, and that the individual may provide or withhold consent.

3.4 A consent to the disclosure of personal health information about an individual by Timiskaming Home Support to a person who is not a health information custodian will be express. If Timiskaming Home Support discloses personal health information to another health information custodian for a purpose other than for providing health care, consent will also be express.

3.5 Typically, Timiskaming Home Support will seek consent for the use or disclosure of the information at the time of collection. In certain circumstances, consent with respect to use or disclosure may be sought after the information has been collected but before use, e.g., where Timiskaming Home Support has collected information from another health care provider identifying a request for admission to our organization.

3.6 In obtaining consent, the reasonable expectations of the individual are also relevant. For example, an individual seeking service/admission can reasonably expect that Timiskaming Home Support, in addition to using the individual’s name and address for administration purposes, would also contact the individual to advise on the availability of the room in the facility.

3.7 Consent can be given by the individual or an authorized Substitute Decision Maker if the individual is incapable. Timiskaming Home Support will follow the rules outlined in PHIPA for obtaining consent on behalf of incapable individuals or for an individual who has died.

3.8 A consent may be withdrawn by the individual who gave it at any time by providing notice to Timiskaming Home Support.

Principle 4 – Limiting Collection

The collection of personal health information shall be limited to that which is necessary for the purposes identified by Timiskaming Home Support. Information will be collected by fair and lawful means.

4.1 Timiskaming Home Support will only collect personal health information for lawful purposes permitted by PHIPA and by other Acts.

4.2 Timiskaming Home Support will not collect personal health information if other information can serve the purpose.

4.3 Timiskaming Home Support will not collect personal health information indiscriminately. Both the amount and the type of information collected will be limited to that which is necessary to fulfill the purposes identified.

4.4 Personal health information will be collected by fair and lawful means.

4.5 Information may be collected indirectly without the consent of the individual in certain circumstances when the information is reasonably necessary for the provision of healthcare to the individual. These circumstances include: where it is not reasonably possible to collect the information from the individual in a timely manner; where it is not reasonably possible to rely on the information from the individual as accurate; where another Act permits the collection.

Principle 5 – Limiting Use, Disclosure, and Retention

Personal health information shall not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by law. Personal health information will be retained as long as necessary for the fulfillment of the purposes.

5.1 Timiskaming Home Support will use and disclose personal health information for lawful purposes permitted or required by PHIPA and by other Acts.

5.2 Timiskaming Home Support will not use or disclose personal health information if other information can serve the purpose.

5.3 Timiskaming Home Support will not use or disclose personal health information indiscriminately. Both the amount and the type of information used and disclosed will be limited to that which is necessary to fulfill the purposes identified.

5.4 Timiskaming Home Support will use and disclose personal health information for the purposes identified. If Timiskaming Home Support uses or discloses personal health information for a new purpose, it will document this purpose and obtain consent, e.g., for promotion.

5.5 If personal health information is used or disclosed without an individual’s consent in a circumstance that requires consent, Timiskaming Home Support will make a note of such use and/or disclosure, and inform the individual of the use or disclosure at the first reasonable opportunity. Timiskaming Home Support will keep the note as part of the record about the individual or in a form that is linked to those records.

5.6 Timiskaming Home Support may disclose personal health information to a health care provider if the disclosure is reasonably necessary for the provision of health care and it is not reasonably possible to obtain consent in a timely manner.

5.7 Timiskaming Home Support may disclose personal health information where the disclosure is necessary for the purpose of eliminating or reducing a significant risk of serious bodily harm to an individual, a person or group of persons.

Principle 6 – Accuracy

Timiskaming Home Support will take reasonable steps to ensure personal health information is as accurate, complete, and up-to-date as is necessary for the purposes for which it is to be used.

6.1 Timiskaming Home Support will not routinely update personal health information, unless such a process is necessary to fulfil the purposes for which the information was collected.

Principle 7 – Safeguards

Personal health information will be protected by security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information.

7.1 Timiskaming Home Support security safeguards will protect personal health information against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use, or modification. Timiskaming Home Support will protect personal health information regardless of the format in which it is held, e.g., verbal, paper or electronic.

7.2 Timiskaming Home Support ensures that the records of personal health information in its custody and control are retained, transferred and disposed of in a secure manner.

7.3 The methods of protection include: physical measures, for example, locked filing cabinets and restricted access to offices; organizational measures, for example, acceptable use policies of Timiskaming Home Support communication systems, limiting access to information on a “need-to-know” basis; and technological measures, for example, the use of user identification and passwords to access Timiskaming Home Support information systems.

7.4 Timiskaming Home Support makes its employees, volunteers and other agents aware of the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of personal health information. As a condition of employment, all Timiskaming Home Support employees must sign Timiskaming Home Support’s confidentiality agreement and agree to adhere the information practices.

7.5 Care is taken in the disposal or destruction of personal health information, to prevent unauthorized parties from gaining access to the information.

7.6 Timiskaming Home Support will notify an individual at the first reasonable opportunity if personal health information is stolen, lost or accessed by unauthorized persons.

Principle 8 – Openness

Timiskaming Home Support will make readily available to individuals specific information about its policies and practices relating to the management of personal health information.

8.1 Timiskaming Home Support sets out its information practices in writing and makes this information available to the public. This information is made available in a form that is generally understandable.

8.2 Timiskaming Home Support may make information on its policies and practices available in a variety of ways. For example, Timiskaming Home Support makes notices and brochures available throughout the facility, it will mail information to family members and it will also provide online access to detailed privacy policies.

Principle 9 – Individual Access

Upon request, an individual will be informed of the existence, use and disclosure of his or her personal health information and will be given access to that information. An individual will be able to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate.

Note: In certain situations, Timiskaming Home Support may not be able to provide access to all the personal health information that it holds about an individual. Exceptions to the access requirement will be limited and specific. The reasons for denying access will be provided to the individual upon request. Exceptions may include: access could reasonably be expected to result in a risk of serious harm to the treatment or recovery of the individual or a risk of serious bodily harm to an individual or group of individuals; information that is prohibitively costly to provide; information that contains references to other individuals; information that cannot be disclosed for legal reasons; and information that is subject to solicitor-client or litigation privilege.

9.1 Timiskaming Home Support will provide an individual with access to his or her record of personal health information, except in limited circumstances. If Timiskaming Home Support refuses an access request, the individual is entitled to make a complaint to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

9.2 Timiskaming Home Support will provide a request form to enable the individual to access his or her record. Under PHIPA, Timiskaming Home Support can take up to 30 days to provide access.

9.3 Timiskaming Home Support may charge the individual seeking access a fee. Timiskaming Home Support believes its fees to be reasonable.

9.4 An individual will be required to provide sufficient written information to permit Timiskaming Home Support to provide an account of the existence, use, and disclosure of personal health information. The information provided shall only be used for this purpose.

9.4b An individual may request Timiskaming Home Support to correct his or her personal health information if he or she believes that the record is in accurate or incomplete. An individual must successfully demonstrate the inaccuracy or incompleteness of personal health information and give Timiskaming Home Support the necessary information to correct the record.

9.5 Timiskaming Home Support will notify persons to whom the record was previously disclosed of the correction except where the correction would not affect the provision of health or other benefits.

9.6 Timiskaming Home Support is not required to correct personal health information that consists of a record that was not originally created by Timiskaming Home Support, if Timiskaming Home Support does not have sufficient knowledge, expertise or authority to correct the record or the record consists of a professional opinion made in good faith about the individual.

9.7 When Timiskaming Home Support is unable to make a correction, Timiskaming Home Support will inform the individual of the refusal, provide reasons and inform him or her of the right to appeal the refusal or the right to attach a statement of disagreement to the individual’s health information.

Principle 10 – Challenging Compliance

An individual will be able to address a challenge concerning compliance with the above principles to Timiskaming Home Support’s Chief Privacy Officer.

10.1 An individual who has grounds to believe that Timiskaming Home Support has contravened PHIPA may make a complaint in writing. Timiskaming Home Support has complaints forms for “Concerns and Resolutions” throughout the building that can be completed and then submitted to reception. Timiskaming Home Support will respond to all complaints or inquiries about its information practices relating to the handling of personal health information. If an individual wants to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner, Timiskaming Home Support_ will inform the individual how to lodge the complaint.

10.2 If a complaint is found to be justified through the internal or external complaint review process, Timiskaming Home Support will take appropriate measures, including, if necessary, amending its information practices.