On June 4, 2012, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) released her 2011 annual report which  includes the access and privacy statistics for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MoHLTC), hospitals, health units, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), and other health care organizations under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act  (FIPPA) and the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA).

Some of the highlights include:

FIPPA  and MFIPPA– Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests

How many FOI requests are made?

  • There were 43,803 FOI requests made in Ontario in 2011 (27,156 municipal requests under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) and 16,647 provincial requests under FIPPA)
  • There were 12.5% more FOI requests made in 2011 than in 2010
  • The number of FOI requests each institution receives varies significantly
    • Health units received between 0-12 FOI requests
    • Universities received between 1-78 FOI requests
    • Provincial Ministries and agencies received between 3 – 6,111 FOI requests
    • Hospitals were not subject to FIPPA until 2012 – so there are no hospital statistics reported

Here are some examples for specific institutions under FIPPA and MFIPPA

Institution

Requests Received in 2011

Requests Completed in 2011

MoHLTC

173

175

e Health Ontario (eHO)

6

4

Cancer Care Ontario (CCO)

3

3

University of Toronto

32

30

Sudbury & District Health Unit

10

10

Champlain LHIN

6

6

Trillium Gift of Life Network

4

4

Mississauga Halton LHIN

1

1

Who Makes FOI Requests?

The overwhelming majority of FOI requests are made by individuals and businesses. Very few are made by government, media and researchers.

Requestor Category

# of MFIPPA Requests

(Municipal)

# of FIPPA Requests

(Provincial)

Total # of FOI Requests in Ontario in 2011

(% of total requests)

Individual/Public

18,398

4,223

22,621 (52%)

Business

7,304

11,170

18,474 (42%)

Government(All Levels)

411

249

660 (1.5%)

Other

376

283

659 (1.5%)

Association/Group

274

334

608 (1.4%)

Media

344

664

608 (1.4%)

Academic/Researcher

48

123

171 (.4%)

Unknown

1

1

2

Total

27,156

16,647

43,803

 

PHIPA Complaints and IPC Health Privacy Investigations

Patients/clients, their families and members of the public may complain to the IPC if they have privacy concerns.  Individuals might complain if they are not given access to their health records or if corrections are not made to their health records as requested or if they believe their health care providers are not collecting, using or disclosing their health information appropriately. The IPC also opens a file when a health information custodian (HIC) reports a privacy breach to the IPC or when the IPC initiates its own privacy investigation.

How many privacy complaints did the IPC receive or investigate?

The IPC received 346 new PHIPA complaints or investigations in 2011:

Access/Correction Complaints                   123         (36%)

Collection/Use/Disclosure Complaints    64           (18%)

Self-Reported Breaches                                   135         (39%)

IPC-initiated Reviews                                        24           (7%)

How do the numbers break down by HIC?

  • Hospitals are the subject of the vast majority of PHIPA complaints before the IPC
  • Doctors and “clinics” may include family health teams and other physician practice arrangements

The IPC breaks down the numbers of complaints and investigations by category of HIC:

Health Information Custodian

Total Complaints

Access/

Correction

Self-Reported Breach

Individual Complaint

IPC-initiated

Public Hospitals

160 (46%)

52 (42%)

77 (57%) 26 (41%) 5 (21%)
Doctors

38 (11%)

17 (14%)

4 (3%) 7 (11%) 10 (42%)
Clinics

35 (10%)

12 (10%)

14 (10%) 6 (9%) 3 (13%)
Community or Mental Health Centre, Program or Service

33 (10%)

6 (5%)

19 (14.1%) 5 (8%) 3 (13%)
Community Care Access Centres (CCACs)

7 (2%)

3 (2%)

2 (2%) 2 (3%) 0
Long-Term Care Homes

6 (2%)

4 (3%)

1 (1%) 0 1 (4%)
Nursing Homes

6 (2%

4 (3%)

0 2 (3%) 0

TOTAL

346

123 (36%)

135 (39%)

64 (18%)

24 (7%)