Public Health Ontario (PHO) is an arm's-length government agency dedicated to protecting and promoting the health of all Ontarians and reducing inequities in health. As a hub organization, PHO links public health practitioners, front-line health workers and researchers to the best scientific intelligence and knowledge from around the world.
PHO provides expert scientific and technical support relating to infection prevention and control; surveillance and epidemiology; health promotion, chronic disease and injury prevention; environmental and occupational health; health emergency preparedness; and public health laboratory services to support health providers, the public health system and partner ministries in making informed decisions and taking informed action to improve the health and security of Ontarians.
PHO’s general policies and procedures with respect to information practices and privacy principles are available for public viewing in printed and electronic forms. In addition, specific purposes for collection of information are identified prior to the collection of information in research and other data sharing arrangements permitted by law and necessary for PHO’s objectives.
In order to carry out its legislated tasks of research and support, PHO will need to collect personal health information from health care providers and organizations as well as public health and government agencies. This may include identifying information as well as health histories, records of hospital visits, and follow-up medical care.
The framework for PHO’s privacy standards is founded on internationally recognized Fair Information Practices; including the CSA Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information (CAN/CSA-Q830-96). This Model Code is the basis of Canadian and provincial privacy legislation.
PHO is governed by the requirements of the Personal Health Information Protection Act and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. PHO is required to comply with the requirements of the legislation and does so by incorporating the principles of the Model Code, widely agreed upon privacy principles, standards and other relevant guidance.
PHO’s Statement of Fair Information Practices discusses each principle individually as it applies to the operation of the agency.
PHO is responsible for personal health information within its custody or control. This applies to information used by PHO and its employees, contractors, consultants, agents, researchers or by a research partner in the course of working for or with PHO.
PHO’s president and chief executive officer and its privacy officer are responsible for PHO’s compliance with policies, practices and procedures to safeguard privacy, confidentiality and security.
PHO will use personal health information and may disclose the information to researchers or other agencies and organizations working with PHO, in accordance with this policy, relevant legislation, and the mandate of PHO. For instance, PHO may use your information to:
In respect of information indirectly collected by PHO from primary or secondary information collectors, the individual will be referred to the original record holder for access to the complete record of personal health information and to request corrections.
If your complaint is not resolved to your satisfaction, you have the right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. The Commissioner can be reached at:
The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
T: 416-326-3333 or 1-800-387-0073
You have a choice
Internet communications that contain personal information are neither secure nor verifiable. It is recommended that unencrypted personal information should never be circulated over the Internet or by e-mail. If you choose not to use the Internet to provide personal information to PHO, you can contact us by mail.