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Province seeks to add penalties to protect personal health information

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The Selinger government is seeking to amend legislation to better protect the privacy of Manitobans’ health information.

The government introduced a bill this afternoon making it an offence for an employee to use or access personal health information without authorization or to falsify that information.

"The Manitoba ombudsman made a recommendation to further strengthen the Personal Health Information Act and we are acting quickly to make these needed changes to ensure the privacy of Manitobans," said Health Minister Theresa Oswald. "Employees will have to ensure they have the proper authorization before accessing someone’s personal health information, better protecting people across the province."

Oswald said while the legislation already includes penalties for disclosing personal health information, the ombudsman recommended adding penalties for the inappropriate use of such records.

The province is also introducing penalties for falsifying records similar to those in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Alberta.

When passed, the amendments would allow individuals who willfully look at another person’s personal health information without the appropriate authorization to be prosecuted, even if they do not disclose the information to anyone else.

The legislation would cover all types of personal health information including information stored in electronic health and medical records.

Individual can face a fine of up to $50,000 if convicted of an offence under the act.

History

Updated on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 3:16 PM CST: replaces photo

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