How do I make a data request?
Public health stakeholders and researchers may request data from Public Health Ontario. Data requests take many forms and may involve personal health information, de-identified record-level data, and aggregate data for operational use or research purposes. Data requests are reviewed by the PHO Privacy Office and the PHO Business Owner with responsibility for the data requested. The approval process for requests differs according to: PHO's legal authority to disclose the data; the type of data requested; the purpose for which the data are requested; and the degree of sensitivity associated with the data.
If you are interested in making a request, please do so in writing by completing the Data Request form. If the request is research based, include all related Research and Ethics Board approval documents. Some approved requests may require a data sharing agreement. In such cases, PHO will contact the requester for signature before the data can be disclosed.
The length of time a request takes differs according the complexity of the request and operational requirements at PHO, but at a minimum please expect at least two weeks for a PHO to fulfill a request.
How do I get previous copies of my private drinking water system (e.g., well) test results?
A written request must be submitted, including the timeframe of results you are looking for and the location of the water source. Ensure you include: street address or lot and concession number, township/municipality, county and postal code.
You may send your request by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
Program Coordinator, Drinking Water Testing
c/o Public Health Ontario Laboratory - Toronto
661 University Avenue, Suite 1701,
Toronto, ON M5G 1M1
How do I make an access request?
A request can be made by writing to the privacy officer, identifying in as much detail as possible the information you are requesting and any other information that will help us locate the records.
A $5.00 application fee per request is required and is payable to Public Health Ontario.
Please submit your request, in writing, to:
Public Health Ontario
Suite 300, 480 University Avenue
Toronto, ON M5G 1V2
We respond promptly to your request
We will deal quickly with your request and respond to you within 30 days. If we need to extend the time, or we have to refuse your request, we will tell you why, subject to any legal restrictions. We will notify you of the new deadline, the reasons for the extension, and your rights under applicable legislation respecting the extension.
We protect other people's privacy when we make information available to you
Some files may include the personal information of an individual or have information confidential to PHO. As we must protect everyone's confidentiality and legal rights, we cannot make these files available to you. However, we will make available to you any factual information contained in such files.
How are the results reported to my doctor?
Test results are reported to the submitting healthcare provider through the PHO secure fax environment or the Ontario Laboratories Information System (depending on the provider). Any clinically significant abnormal results are promptly telephoned to your healthcare provider.
Are my laboratory test results confidential?
PHO has a legal and professional obligation to maintain the confidentiality of patient information. There are circumstances, however, where the PHO is either required or permitted to report particular events or clinical conditions to the appropriate organizations, such as the local Medical Officer of Health where you reside. Mandatory reports are legally required by the Health Protection and Promotion Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.7, and considered necessary in the public interest.
Can you provide me with a copy of my lab test results?
Laboratory test results can be meaningless or misleading in the absence of other findings by your healthcare provider. This is why you should obtain your laboratory test results directly from the healthcare provider who ordered the test. In accordance with privacy legislation, PHO will not release your laboratory results directly to you, except in exceptional circumstances.