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Precedent Decision Regarding Privacy of Medical Information

Every person in Ontario will be affected by this precedent case before the Court regarding the privacy of medical information. The issue is whether or not patients have the right to sue for damages for the tort of breach of privacy when someone intentionally and wrongfully gains access to their medical records. In Ontario, the legislation covering this subject is the Personal Health Information Protection Act, (“PHIPA”) however, the statute only grants very restrictive access to the Courts and only if the Privacy Commissioner, after a hearing, grants permission to sue. The legislation also limits damages to $10,000.00.
J. Arthur Cogan argued the matter on behalf of 280 patients of the Peterborough Regional Health Centre in a class action brought by him on their behalf. This is the first case in Ontario to decide the issue. Mr. Cogan succeeded in the Superior Court of Ontario and the matter has been appealed by the Hospital in the Ontario Court of Appeal. The decision has been reserved and a number of other cases are now on hold pending this decision. [Read More]

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