WHAT IS PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. It includes information that relates to an individual’s personal characteristics (e.g. gender, age, address, phone no, education, family circumstances), health status (e.g. health history, conditions, services received), or activities and views (e.g., occupation, opinions, ideas).
OUR PRIMARY PURPOSE FOR COLLECTING PERSONAL INFORMATION
We collect, use and disclose personal information to provide professional services to our clients. For example, we collect information about a client’s health history, family history, and psychosocial functioning to determine their mental health needs and provide options for the provision of services. We also collect information to provide a baseline and ongoing record of psychosocial functioning so that treatment progress and interventions can be monitored over time. Personal information is never disclosed to other health care providers without the client’s written consent.
In some situations, the primary purpose of collecting personal information will be to conduct an assessment to provide a professional opinion about a person’s psychological functioning. With the client’s consent, this professional opinion would be reported to the appropriate person or agency (e.g., insurance company, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board).
ADDITIONAL REASONS FOR COLLECTING PERSONAL INFORMATION
PROTECTING PERSONAL INFORMATION
To protect your personal information, we have taken the following steps:
LIMITS TO THE PROTECTION OF INFORMATION
There are certain circumstances where we are legally obligated to disclose information to the appropriate authorities. These include the Children’s Aid Society if a child is being abused or is at risk, the regulatory body of a health care practitioner if they have been engaging in sexual misconduct, and the courts if our file is subpoenaed. It also includes taking whatever steps necessary to ensure safety if a client is imminently at risk of hurting him/herself or others.
RETENTION AND DESTRUCTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
We need to retain personal information for a certain amount of time to ensure that, a) we can answer any questions you may have about the services provided, and b) we can be accountable to our own regulatory body.
YOU CAN LOOK AT YOUR INFORMATION
With only a few exceptions, you have the right to look at the personal information in your file. All you have to do is ask. We can review the file with you, or help you understand any information that is unclear (e.g., short forms, technical language). We reserve the right to charge a nominal fee for such requests. We may ask you to put your request in writing. In rare situations, we may be unable to give you access. In such cases, we will provide you with a written explanation within 30 days.
If you believe there is a mistake in the information, you have the right to ask for it to be corrected. This applies to factual information and not to any professional opinions we have formed. Where we agree that a mistake was made, we will make the correction and notify anyone to whom the information was sent. If we do not agree that a mistake was made, we will include a brief statement regarding your disagreement in the clinical record and forward this statement to anyone else who received the earlier information.
IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION
Please contact us immediately if you have any questions or concerns regarding our privacy practices or any services you receive. If we cannot satisfy your request, you have the right to complain to our respective regulatory bodies:
College of Psychologists of Ontario
500 – 110 Eglinton Ave. West
College of Occupational
Therapists of Ontario
900 – 20 Bay St, P.O. Box 78
Toronto, ON M5J 2N8
For more general inquiries, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Canada oversees the administration of the privacy legislation in the private sector. The Commissioner also acts as a kind of ombudsman for privacy disputes. This person can be reached at:
The Information and Privacy Commissioner
112 Kent Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1H3
Ph (613) 995-8210
Fax (613) 947-6850