The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner responds to "Plan B" concerns  

A letter to the editor in today's Toronto Star: - No problem with giving Plan B info:

Letter, Dec. 9.

In his letter, Tim Lu stated that I recommended pharmacists not ask any questions when dispensing Plan B. Allow me to offer the following correction. I refer him to the Ontario College of Pharmacists notice of Dec. 8, 2005, which states the following: 'the Privacy Commissioner stressed that pharmacists should continue to provide information to patients who request this drug, to gather information and to educate and counsel patients. Pharmacists should ask questions of patients if necessary in the course of providing this service but should not record personal health information in a manner which identifies individual patients.'

My office did not recommend that pharmacists not communicate relevant information to women to ensure the safe and effective use of Plan B. Indeed, I noted that pharmacists provide very important services and guidance. However, in order to protect the privacy of Ontarians, as I am mandated to do under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, I must ensure that identifiable personal health information is only collected when it is necessary and that no more personal health information is collected than is necessary. With this in mind, my office together with the Ontario College of Pharmacists and the Ontario Association of Pharmacists is working expeditiously to develop new guidelines to assist pharmacists when dispensing Plan B.

Again, let me be clear. I have no problem with a pharmacist imparting information on Plan B to patients. My concerns lie with the unnecessary collection and recording of personally identifiable, sensitive health information.

Ann Cavoukian, Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner, Toronto

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