Proposed Changes to Ontario’s Health Privacy Legislation – Bill 119

This week the Ontario government introduced Bill 119, which proposes to amend the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA).  DDO Health Law has prepared a blacklined version of PHIPA so it is easy to see the proposed changes. Please click here for a PDF version that you can download.

Caution: This is for general information purposes only and is not an official version.  These changes are not yet law and there may be further future amendments.  Please contact us if you have questions.

Mary Jane Dykeman       mjdykeman@ddohealthlaw.com

Kathy O’Brien                    kobrien@ddohealthlaw.com

Charities and Political Activities

As we are in the midst of a federal election campaign in Canada, this is a good time for registered charities to review Canada Revenue Agency’s rules related to charities and political activities. The following link will connect you to a Canada Revenue Agency website that contains some useful tools and reminders to ensure your organization remains compliant with Canada Revenue Agency rules and regulations related to political activities: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/chrts/cmmnctn/pltcl-ctvts/menu-eng.html.
If you only do one thing this election campaign, remind your directors, officers, employees and other representatives that charities are prohibited from devoting any of their resources to partisan political activities. Canada Revenue Agency defines a “partisan political activity” as an activity “that involves direct or indirect support of, or opposition to, any political party at any time, whether during an election period or not, or a candidate for public office”. If an individual that represents a charitable organization would like to be involved in any partisan political activities they should (i) do so in their personal capacity and not in their capacity as a representative of the charity, and (ii) not use any resources of the charity in carrying out such political activities.

Recommendations from the QCIPA Review Committee

In 2014 the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care called for the formation of a committee to look at current practices in the interpretation and implementation of the Quality of Care Information Protection Act and to make recommendations for improvement. The resulting QCIPA Review Committee, which submitted its report to the Ministry in December 2014, issued 12 recommendations. These recommendations include among other things propositions related to: (i) changes in the legislation; (ii) an increased emphasis on patient involvement in investigations; and (iii) mechanisms to better utilize the lessons learned through investigations. Michael Gleeson was recently interviewed on the topic. See:

http://www.advocatedaily.com/recommendations-for-qcipa-a-good-step-forward.html

ECFAA provides hospital boards with a broad mandate for oversight of patient care

The Medical Advisory Committee (“MAC”) of a hospital has traditionally been the primary mechanism for a board of directors to ensure that a hospital is providing the appropriate quality of care to its patients. However, the Quality Committee of a hospital, as required by the Excellent Care for All Act, may be equally as important for a board. While the MAC is critically important for oversight and evaluation of the patient care provided by privileged health care providers, it has a relatively limited mandate as compared to the Quality Committee. The Quality Committee is tasked with responsibility for, and granted the tools necessary to oversee, all aspects of patient care within a hospital; not just care provided by privileged doctors, dentists, extended class nurses and midwives. Michael Gleeson was recently interviewed on the topic of board oversight of patient care. See:

http://www.advocatedaily.com/ecfaa-provides-broader-oversight-of-patient-care.html

BILL 78: An opposition bill pushing for accountability in the funding of Ontario’s health care services

On March 11, 2015, France Gélinas, the NDP’s health critic, introduced Bill 78, the Transparent and Accountable Health Care Act, 2015. Bill 78 has since passed second reading in the Ontario legislature and was referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy on March 26, 2015.

The Bill proposes to promote transparency and accountability in the funding of health care services in Ontario by:

  • ensuring that certain persons and entities that receive public funds directly or indirectly are covered by legislative requirements relating to accountabi¬lity and transparency; and
  • requiring annual reporting on payments made by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) to certain persons and entities.

Both physicians and major suppliers to Ontario’s public health sector would be particularly impacted by this proposed legislation.

Broadening the Reach of the BPSAA, PSSDA, Ombudsman and Auditor General

Bill 78 proposes to broaden the reach of Part II.1 of the Broader Public Sector Accountability Act, 2010 (BPSAA) and the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act, 1996 (PSSDA) to major health sector organizations and publicly-funded suppliers – in other words, to all health-sector entities receiving more than $1 million in public funding annually, whether directly or indirectly.

Subject to limited exceptions, Part II.1 of the BPSAA prohibits compensation increases for designated executives and restricts performance pay for designated employers. Currently, the only health-sector entities subject to these prohibitions are public hospitals. The Bill expands the reach of the PSSDA, which established Ontario’s “Sunshine List”, to all major health sector organizations, requiring the publication of the salaries of all employees earning over $100,000 per year.

Additionally, the mandate of the Auditor General is broadened by authorizing its audits of major health organizations and publicly-funded suppliers. Such health-sector entities would also be subject to oversight by the Ontario Ombudsman.

OHIP Payments Publication

Bill 78 would also require the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to annually publish a disclosure statement of the total amount paid to a person or entity receiving at least $100,000 through OHIP billings. The disclosure statement would also include “cautionary language”, explaining that the figures do not represent a physician’s net income. The cautionary language proposed by the Bill is as follows: “Readers of this disclosure statement should understand that it provides only a record of gross payments. In some instances, the recorded figure is a payment for the services of a number of physicians. Physicians must pay the expenses of their practice out of this gross amount. No calculation of a physician’s net income can be made from such figures. Conclusions cannot be drawn from these figures about the relative net income of any physician since overhead varies greatly from physician to physician.”

Supreme Court of Canada strikes down prohibition on assisted suicide

Mary Jane Dykeman interviewed about the new Supreme Court of Canada decision released today in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General)

See article: http://www.advocatedaily.com/supreme-court-reverses-ban-on-doctor-assisted-death-unconstitutional.html