Amendments to health information privacy legislation in Saskatchewan will help protect personal health records and increase accountability of those responsible for protecting those records. Amendments to The Health Information Protection Act (HIPA) came into effect on June 1, 2016. Amendments include a strict liability offence, meaning that if records are found unsecured, the trustee responsible for the records would need to show they took all reasonable steps to prevent the abandonment.
“Sometimes called the ‘reverse onus’ clause, it means the Crown would not have to prove the trustee intended to abandon the records, rather that they did not take all reasonable steps to protect them,” the release explained, adding that trustees are individuals and organizations that have personal health information under their custody and control.
Other amendments include:
- An individual offence for willful disclosure of personal information – this change will make it clear that HIPA offences for intentional disclosure of personal health information apply not only to trustees, but to individuals who are employees of trustees;
- A “snooping” offence: A specific offence will be established for inappropriate use of personal health information by employees who access information without a need for that information; and
- A specific provision added to HIPA for a system to be put in place to quickly respond to a discovery of abandoned or unsecured records and to take control of the records.
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