Government Accepts Ombudsman’s Report to Strengthen Privacy


WINNIPEG, MB. – Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living is taking steps to further strengthen internal privacy processes and protocols following the receipt and review of a Manitoba ombudsman’s report titled Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living Provincial Drug Program Privacy Investigation: Collection, Use, Disclosure, Security, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced.

“People expect health department staff to follow the rules around the privacy of the information they have access to, and so do I,” said Goertzen. “The department has accepted the recommendations of the ombudsman’s office, and has made changes or will be looking at ways to address them to ensure the privacy of Manitobans’ health information.”

In 2014, an employee of the department’s provincial drug programs branch improperly accessed personal health information about a number of individuals including information about the prescription of various medications to these individuals and about the filling of those prescriptions.

Following an investigation by the ombudsman’s office, charges were laid against the individual in 2016. In 2017, the individual was found guilty of committing an offence by using or accessing the personal health information of the complainant contrary to the requirements of The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA).

The ombudsman’s office also examined the department’s policies and procedures related to PHIA that help to prevent, detect and respond to unauthorized access by employees and identified opportunities for improvement.

The minister noted before the ombudsman’s investigation was complete, steps were taken to improve the department’s internal privacy processes and protocols, such as strengthening auditing processes including creating an auditing template and developing detailed guidelines for responding to privacy breaches.

“As part of the health-care system transformation that is underway, we’ll also be looking at ways to improve privacy management and governance,” said Goertzen. “Several of these recommendations will be reviewed as part of that work and taken into consideration as changes are implemented.”

To view the report, click here.

Government of Manitoba

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