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College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta

Regulating MDs:  The Complaint Process, Discipline,
and Screening for Fitness to Practice

CPSA Disclosure Policy

Under Alberta legislation, information about physician-related complaints is confidential. However, if a physician is involved in a formal disciplinary hearing, his/her name may be made public. This usually occurs if:

  • The physician is found guilty;
  • Publication of the name and complaint information is part of the punishment imposed;
  • The physician's name is generally released when his/her license is revoked, suspended, or has restrictions or conditions placed upon it.

Health Record Privacy and Amendment

Provincial and Federal Legislation

Federal
Level
PIPEDA Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act
This privacy law covers private-sector commercial organizations, including medical clinics and physicians in private practice.
Privacy Act Privacy Act
This privacy law relates to an individual's right to access and correct personal information the Government of Canada holds about them.
Provincial
Level
HIPA Health Information Protection Act
This legislation, locally enacted by each province, governs the trustees of health records.

The federal PIPEDA law governs private-sector organizations engaged in commercial activities across Canada. It sets down clear rules for how these organizations may collect, use, or disclose personal information, and guarantees concrete avenues for amending flawed information. PIPEDA applies to medical clinics and physicians in private practice.

Some provinces have HIPA legislation that, on inspection, is deemed substantially similar to the health-records subset of PIPEDA.  An organization that operates solely within such a province will be exempt from PIPEDA, unless the personal information crosses provincial or national borders.

But more than half the provinces and territories have HIPA legislation which is not substantially similar to PIPEDA. In such provinces, an application to PIPEDA may succeed.

Alberta is a compliant province – its local HIPA legislation offers a pragmatic protection for health records that is deemed substantially similar to PIPEDA. Compliance oversight belongs to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

Georgena S. Sil
Saskatoon, Canada
Physicist & Technical Writer
Alumnus: University of British Columbia

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Copyright © 2008-2019 Georgena Sil. All Rights Reserved.