Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner
November 16, 2017
An Act Respecting the Monitoring of Prescriptions in the Province
Pursuant to section 112 of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015, ministers are required to consult with the OIPC on all proposed legislation that “could have implications for access to information or protection of privacy.” After receipt of a draft of the Prescription Monitoring Act, officials of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) met with officials of the Department of Health and Community Services to convey concerns about the proposed legislation.
The OIPC expressed concerns, including a comment in response to an indication from Department officials about the potential, in the future, to monitor other drugs of widespread usage and without addictive qualities.
Section 3, setting out the purpose of the Prescription Monitoring Program, places emphasis on education, support and assistance. The OIPC view is that this could permit wide scale access to personal health information without sufficient objective (i.e. significant societal harms). This exacerbates the OIPC’s concerns about future expansion of the Prescription Monitoring Program to other drugs and consequent intrusions upon the privacy of personal health information.
Additionally, the search powers appear excessive and inconsistent with goals of education, support and assistance.
The OIPC recognizes that Department of Health and Community Services is not in any way required to act upon comments it provides pursuant to section 112 of the ATIPPA, 2015. That section does however allow the OIPC to comment on draft Bills after they become public. The OIPC is exercising that jurisdiction to communicate its concerns about the potential impacts of this Bill on the privacy of personal health information.
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Senior Access and Privacy Analyst
2017 11 16 4:15 p.m.