Privacy Statement

 

The Red Oak Centre is committed to respecting and protecting your privacy. We will make every effort to collect, use and disclose personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the services we provide. We strive to be open and transparent regarding how we handle personal information. This statement describes our privacy policies and procedures, and provides information about how you can access records of your personal health information and request correction of recorded information.
 

What is Personal Information?

Personal information is information about an identifiable individual. Practitioners at The Red Oak Centre are regulated under the provincial Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA, 1991). As such, all identifiable information about an individual collected during the course of treatment at The Red Oak Centre, is considered “personal health information” under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA). Personal information can relate to personal characteristics, health, activities and views. 
 

Collection of personal HEALTH information

We collect your personal health information only directly from you, except: a) when you have provided consent to obtain such information from others (e.g., reports of previous assessments or of other services); and b) where the law requires or allows us to collect information without your consent (e.g., in an urgent situation, when information is needed to prevent potential harm). 

We collect only information from you that we believe is needed: a) to provide you with the services you have requested and/or for which you have been referred; b) to maintain contact with you for service-related or future consent purposes; c) to prevent or offset harm (e.g., asking for an emergency contact). 

By law and in accordance with professional standards, we are required to keep a record of services provided to and contacts with you. Your record includes information you provide or authorize us to receive, results of any assessments, your treatment plan, consent forms, contact notes, progress summaries, billing information, and correspondence that we have sent or received related to your service. The physical records are the property of our practice. However, you have rights regarding access to your record and regarding disclosure of information from your record (see below), regardless of the form in which the information is recorded.
 

USE AND PROTECTION OF PERSONAL HEALTH INFORMATION 

The primary use of your personal health information is to conduct assessment, consultation or to provide treatment to you. This includes carrying out all of the functions reasonably necessary to provide those services, including billing for services. 

Red Oak practitioners and staff collect, use and disclose personal information only as necessary to fulfill their duties in accordance with our privacy policy. At times, The Red Oak Centre may involve external individuals who, in the course of their duties, have limited access to your personal information. These include computer consultants, bookkeepers and accountants, and credit card companies/banks. All staff who come into contact with your personal information are aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality, as well as in our practice’s privacy policies and procedures, including prevention of record loss and unauthorized access.

Any individual who knows a client personally is expected to disclose their relationship and as such, not access that client’s personal information unless there is an emergency or unless the client has given express consent for access. 

Paper information and electronic hardware are either under supervision or secured in restricted areas at all times. Computers are password protected. Electronic information is stored on cloud-based servers with privacy procedures in place (www.owlpractice.ca). Electronic information is transmitted via privacy-protected, cloud-based file-sharing services (eg. sync.com). 
 

DISCLOSURE OF PERSONAL HEALTH INFORMATION

With only a few exceptions, your personal health information will not be disclosed to people outside this office without your knowledge and express consent. These exceptions are known as the “limits of confidentiality”, and are circumstances in which disclosure is allowed by law: 

  • When there is a clear and imminent risk of serious bodily harm to someone, including the possibility of self-harm.
  • When disclosure is needed to receive professional or legal consultation.
  • For mandatory reporting of a child who might be in need of protection.
  • For mandatory reporting of a regulated health professional who has sexually abused a client.
  • In compliance with a court order to release information from a record.
  • To comply with professional regulations established by professional Colleges (eg. the College of Psychologists of Ontario; the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario; the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario), who may inspect records and interview staff as a part of their regulatory
  • activities (e.g., quality assurance) in the public interest.
  • To comply with regulatory authorities under the terms of the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) for the purposes of the aforementioned professional colleges’ fulfillment of their respective mandates under the RHPA, as well as for a defence of a legal issue.
  • To insurance companies, employee assistance programs, credit card companies or other third-party payers as needed, who often have your consent or legislative authority to direct us to collect and disclose to them certain information in order to demonstrate your entitlement to this funding and to answer questions about our services you have received.

Please note that according to law, any disclosure of your personal health information will be limited to information that is reasonably necessary for the purpose of the disclosure. Professional ethical standards additionally require that any information that might cause serious harm to someone not be disclosed, unless the law requires disclosure. 

When consenting to the disclosure of your personal health information to another health professional who is providing services to you, you may restrict us from sharing all or any part of your personal information. However, if in our opinion the information is reasonably necessary for another health service provider to provide appropriate service, we are required by law to inform the other provider that you have refused consent to provide some needed information. 
 

Retention and Destruction of Personal Information 

All personal information at The Red Oak Centre will be retained electronically for 10 years following a child’s 18th birthday, or 10 years following the last date of contact, whichever is later. This practice is in accordance with regulatory guidelines and legislation. All paper documents containing personal information are destroyed by shredding.
 

YOUR RIGHT OF ACCESS TO YOUR PERSONAL HEALTH INFORMATION RECORD 

With only a few exceptions, you have the right to access any record of your personal health information, and to request copies of the information. If the physical record contains personal health information about another individual, that individual’s information must be severed from the record before you access the record. Because of the nature of certain services, severing information may be difficult and at times impossible. 

Other exceptions include access to copyrighted psychological test information (test items, protocols, manuals), information provided in confidence by a third party, and information that could result in serious harm to someone’s treatment or recovery, or in serious physical harm. 

If you are the custodial parent or guardian of a child receiving service, you may not access (without the child’s consent) the personal health information of a child, who was deemed competent and who consented to the service on his/her own. In addition, there are restrictions on custodial parents/guardians access to individual therapy notes regarding their children.
 

If you request your personal file: 

We may need to confirm your identity, if you have not received service for some time before providing you with this access.

We reserve the right to charge a nominal fee for such requests, including the cost of retrieving your file from storage and separating out your information from those of other affected parties.

If we cannot give you access, we will tell you within 14 days and explain why not.

If you believe there is a mistake in the information, you have the right to ask for it to be corrected. This applies to factual information and not to any professional opinions we may have formed. We may ask you to provide documentation that our files are wrong.

Where we agree there is an error, we will make the correction and notify anyone to whom we have sent the incorrect information. If we do not agree that we have made an error, you may provide a notice of disagreement that will be included in the file and we will forward that notice to anyone else who received the earlier information.
  

concerns and further information

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more detailed information about The Red Oak Centre’s privacy policies and procedures. You may contact us by phone, email or in writing to request access to your record, to request a correction to your record, or if you have a concern about your privacy.

Our Information Officer, Leah Izenberg, can be reached by email or at 647 748 4441 to address any questions or concerns you might have.

Further details of the applicable laws, regulations, and standards informing our privacy policies and procedures may be found by visiting:

Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care

College of Psychologists of Ontario

College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario

The College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists

The Canadian Psychological Association 

The Personal Health Information Protection Act 

For more general inquiries, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario oversees the administration of the privacy legislation. The Commissioner also acts as a kind of ombudsman for privacy disputes. The Information and Privacy Commissioner can be reached at: 

Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario  M4W 1A8
T 416 326 3333 / 800 387 0073
F 416 325 9195
TTY 416 325 7539
ipc.on.ca