The George Hull Centre is committed to meeting the highest standard of ethics with respect to the collection, use, security and disclosure of personal information with clients, staff, consultants, volunteers, donors and business associates. We are committed to meeting or exceeding the privacy standards established by relevant legislation, including Ontario's Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA).
What is Personal Health Information?
Personal health information is “identifying information” about an individual, whether oral or recorded. It includes any information about an individual’s health or health care history. “Identifying information” means information that could identify an individual when used alone or with other information.
The types of personal health information we collect, use and store may vary depending upon the individuals involved and the nature of their relationships with The George Hull Centre. For clients (children, youth and families), we collect personal health information that may include a client’s name, address, date of birth, health card information, and personal/family information related to assessment, diagnosis, medication, counselling and treatment.
When Do We Need Consent?
The George Hull Centre will not collect, use or disclose personal health information without a client’s consent, or his or her parent’s or substitute decision maker’s consent, or as required by law. For most health care purposes, consent is implied as a result of consent to treatment. However, in some circumstances, express, and sometimes written, consent may be required.
We may rely on a client’s or parent’s implied consent to share personal health information with an authorized agent, as long as the sharing is related to the provision of health care and the client has not expressly stated otherwise.
How We Use the Information We Collect
The use of information may vary depending upon the individuals involved and the nature of their relationships with us.
With limited exceptions, we obtain most personal health information directly from our clients and collect only as much information as is necessary to meet the purpose of the collection. We will not collect personal health information if other information we have will serve the purpose of the collection.
For clients, personal information may be used:
- To provide assessment, counselling and treatment services;
- For quality assurance purposes to determine the effectiveness of services with the goal of improving services;
- To comply with all legal and regulatory requirements;
- To contact individuals regarding upcoming events, activities, and programs that may be of interest;
- as otherwise required by law.
We will not share a client’s personal health information with anyone outside of The George Hull Centre, our authorized agents or other health care providers involved in a client’s care, without his or her consent. The only exception to this is that we may be required by law or a Court Order to share certain personal health information.
We will only share personal health information with other professionals, agencies and schools who are involved in the care, education and treatment of a client if the client or his or her parent/guardian provides consent for us to do so.
There may be circumstances where we are required by law to share a client’s personal health information with others. This includes an obligation to contact police when we learn that an individual may be at risk of harm and to report to the Children’s Aid Society all incidents of suspected child abuse, neglect or a reason to believe that a child may be in need of protection.
Unless otherwise required by law, The George Hull Centre does not share personal information with third parties without specific consent.
Safeguards and Security
All information is protected by physical and electronic security measures appropriate to the nature of the information, and is accessible only by authorized personnel.
Retention of Personal Health Information
Client records are retained for 10 years after the client’s 18th birthday, with the following exceptions:
- Residential treatment programs: client records are retained for 20 years after the last entry in the record with respect to the resident, or, where the resident dies, for 5 years after the death of the resident (CFSA R.R.O. 1990, Reg.70, s.99(2));
- Family Group Conferencing Toronto: client records are retained for 7 years after the date of closure.
The Clinical Records coordinator and supervisor are responsible for the destruction of files once each year. Hardcopy files are shredded on-site. A cross-check is performed between a computer printout and the hardcopy files to ensure that all files are accounted for, and to prevent accidental destruction of files before the end of the period. Any missing hardcopy files are added to the printouts used for subsequent years. Electronic files are deleted.
Registration information collected for participants in non-treatment groups, such as name, address, and date of birth, will be destroyed in the next fiscal year following the group.
Partially completed intake records and accompanying material will be retained for one year and then destroyed if the intake is not completed.
The Clinical Records coordinator and supervisor are responsible for the destruction of files once each year. Hardcopy files are shredded on-site. A cross-check is performed between a computer printout and the hardcopy files to ensure that all files are accounted for, and to
prevent accidental destruction of files before the end of the period. Any missing hardcopy files are added to the printouts used for subsequent years. Electronic files are deleted.
81 The East Mall
416 622 8833 (237)
For more information, you can contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario:
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
416 326 3333 or 1 800 387 0073