Law & Governance

Law & Governance November -0001 : 0-0

Bill 31, Health Information Protection Act, 2003: An Update

Kathy O'Brien


At an Ontario Bar Association conference held last week, the Ministry's legal counsel discussed Bill 31's status and disclosed two key amendments to Bill 31 that have been approved by the Committee on General Government.

Status of the Bill

The Committee approved approximately 150 amendments to the Bill during a clause-by-clause review on February 9th. These amendments were based solely on the oral submissions to Committee; neither the Ministry nor the Committee has had an opportunity to review the written submissions. As a result, Bill 31 will go back to Committee after second reading for a second clause-by-clause review, based on the written submissions.

Key Amendments

  1. The Bill is expected to get Royal Assent this spring, but the effective/implementation date has been put off to January 1, 2005 (originally July 1, 2004).
  2. The Committee responded to the concerns expressed by the hospital and fundraising sectors about the requirement that express consent be obtained to contact the patient for fundraising purposes. This rule has been modified - the amended provision allows a health information custodian to use personal health information for fundraising purposes with either:
    1. express consent; or
    2. implied consent. However, in the case of implied consent, the only personal health information that can be used is the individual's name and prescribed types of contact information. There will be consultation and debate at the regulation-making stage about what type of contact information will be prescribed (address, email, etc.). Clearly, targeted fundraising based on diagnosis will no longer be permitted without express consent.


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