PHIA - Your Privacy Our Commitment

Personal Health Information Act

Your Privacy - Our Commitment

The Department of Health and Wellness is responsible for the Nova Scotia provincial health care system. We provide health care services to the public. We plan and manage the health care system.

Because of this role, we are granted unique authority under PHIA to collect and use your personal health information without consent to ensure we have the most complete information to analyze and make decisions about health care services. When we collect your personal health information, we do so only when absolutely necessary. Also, we collect your personal health information in a limited way and in the most de-identified form possible to achieve our purposes.

 

 

Your rights under PHIA

The Personal Health Information Act legislates rights of individuals and obligations of "custodians" in the health system with respect to your personal health information.
Under PHIA you have the right to:

Request access to your personal health information

You have the right to access and request a copy of your personal health information from the DHW. There are limited exceptions to your right of access. For example, you may not be given access to information that was collected during an investigation or that includes personal health information about another individual.

To request access to your personal health information held by the DHW, complete and submit the following form to the Privacy and Access Office:

Privacy and Access Office
NS Department of Health & Wellness
1894 Barrington Street
P.O. Box 488
Halifax, NS   B3J 2R8
Toll Free: 1-855-640-4765
(902)-424-5419
phia@gov.ns.ca

Request a record of who accessed your personal health information

You have the right to request a record of who accessed your personal health information on our electronic information systems. We call this a "Record of User Activity."

To request a record of user activity, complete the following form and submit to the Privacy and Access Office:

Privacy and Access Office
NS Department of Health & Wellness
1894 Barrington Street
P.O. Box 488
Halifax, NS B3J 2R8
Toll Free: 1-855-640-4765
(902)-424-5419
phia@gov.ns.ca

Request a correction if your personal health information is not accurate,
complete, and up to date

You have the right to request that we correct your personal health information if you feel it is not accurate, complete, or up to date. Some exceptions apply. For example, we cannot change the professional opinion of a health practitioner.

To request a correction to your personal health information held by the DHW, complete the following form and submit to the Privacy and Access Office:

Privacy and Access Office
NS Department of Health & Wellness
1894 Barrington Street
P.O. Box 488
Halifax, NS   B3J 2R8
Toll Free: 1-855-640-4765
(902)-424-5419
phia@gov.ns.ca

Ask us to limit the way we collect, use, or disclose your personal health information

You have the right to request a limitation on the way we collect, use, or disclose your personal health information. The DHW has the responsibility to take reasonable steps to comply with your request. When you make such a request, we will discuss with you the risks associated with such a limitation, which we call "masking." If you ask us to mask your personal health information, we have the obligation to notify any custodian that the information is incomplete if a disclosure if necessary.

To request a limitation on the way the DHW collects, uses, or discloses your personal health information, please contact the department at:
Privacy and Access Office
NS Department of Health & Wellness
1894 Barrington Street
P.O. Box 488
Halifax, NS   B3J 2R8
Toll Free: 1-855-640-4765
(902)-424-5419
phia@gov.ns.ca

Make a complaint if you think we have not followed the rules in PHIA

You have the right to make a complaint to the DHW concerning how your information was collected, used, maintained, disclosed, or disposed of by the department in accordance to our obligations under PHIA.

To make a complaint to the DHW, complete the following form and submit to the Privacy and Access Office:

Privacy and Access Office
NS Department of Health & Wellness
1894 Barrington Street
P.O. Box 488
Halifax, NS   B3J 2R8
Toll Free: 1-855-640-4765
(902)-424-5419
phia@gov.ns.ca

 

Privacy Complaints Process

The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) is the law that governs how the Department of Health and Wellness (the Department) may collect, use, disclose, and maintain your personal health information.

Under PHIA you have the right to make a complaint to the Department if you believe that the Department has not followed the privacy requirements.

The following is the procedure for filing complaints with the Department

 

Making a Complaint

  1. A complaint to the Department will only be accepted if it is in writing.A form is available to you for this purpose.
  1. If you have difficulty accessing the form a written complaint, in any format, will also be accepted.
  1. The written complaint must be submitted to:

Director, Privacy and Access Office
Department of Health and Wellness
Barrington Street, 3rd. floor
PO Box 488
Halifax, NS B3J 2A8

 

Complaint Process

Once your written complaint has been received, the Department will:

  1. review the content of your complaint to ensure that it contains enough information to initiate the investigation. If f the complaint is incomplete or does not have enough detail to facilitate the investigation of the complaint, the Department will contact you to seek clarification.

  2. ensure that the consent you provide is sufficient to allow the Department to consult with staff as necessary to facilitate the investigation and to gather information.

  3. The complaint will be considered received and ready for investigation only when the Department has confirmed with you that it has all the necessary information.

  4. Once your complaint submission is deemed complete, the Department will notify you, in writing, when you can expect a response with the findings of the investigation.

  5. The Department is committed to resolving your complaint within 60 days.

  6. If an informal resolution is reached you will be notified and this will be considered as completion of the complaint.

Timelines

The Department is committed to responding to your complaint within 60 days.  However, depending on the complexity of the complaint and the time necessary to investigate and respond, the Department may require an extension of 30 days. This extension is allowed under the regulations (Section 8 (3)(a)).

If an extension is taken, the Department will notify you in writing and will include a date when you can expect a response.
Where a complaint is complex to investigate the Department is allowed to request permission from the Review Officer for a longer extension. If this is the case, the Department will also notify you in writing.

 

Requesting a Review

Once the internal process is complete, if you are not satisfied with the Department’s decision you have the right to request a review from the Review Officer. The contact information is:

Review Officer
Personal Health Information Act
PO Box 181
Halifax, NS B3J 2M4
Telephone: (902) 424-4684
Toll-free: 1-866-243-1564
Fax: 902-424-8303
TDD/TTY: 1-800-855-0511
Web: www.foipop.ns.ca

If you have any questions about this process or for more information related to privacy you can contact:

phia@gov.ns.ca
Phone: 902.424.5419
or toll free 1.855.640.4765

Notices

Please read the following notices if you would like additional information around your rights and the department’s obligations under the Personal Health Information Act:

Department of Health and Wellness Notice of Purposes

Department of Health and Wellness Privacy Statement