Privacy commissioner to review proposed changes to Alberta health legislation

Alberta’s information and privacy commissioner says she was not consulted on proposed changes to the Health Information Act (Bill 46), but will review them as they are being debated in the legislature.

Jill Clayton says in a statement she has concerns about amendments put forward by the United Conservative government.

Read more: Alberta privacy commissioner investigating Babylon health app

The bill was introduced in the legislature by Health Minister Tyler Shandro on Thursday.

He said in the legislature that it would modernize the province’s health legislation to better reflect its current health system and to support patient-centred care.

Shandro also said the changes would allow for broader use of electronic health records and increase penalties for unauthorized use of patient health information.

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Parts of Bill 46, the Health Statutes Amendment Act, include regulating health-care aides, allowing authorized health organizations and professionals to share health information in Alberta Netcare more efficiently, and increasing penalties for unauthorized use of patient health information.

Read more: Alberta privacy commissioner investigating Alcanna’s use of ID scanning at liquor stores

Clayton says it’s extremely disappointing that she wasn’t consulted on the bill before it was introduced.

“It goes without saying, as the person responsible for the oversight of Albertans’ privacy rights, that I would have expected the opportunity to review and comment on these changes prior to the bill being introduced in the legislature,” Clayton said in her statement late Thursday.

“Nevertheless, now that the bill will be debated in the legislature, I look forward to reviewing these amendments in detail and will soon be making my comments on this bill public.”

Alberta Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton.
Alberta Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton. Courtesy: Office of the Alberta Privacy Commissioner,

Bill 46 would amend the Health Professions Act, the Health

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Information Act, the Health Facilities Act, and the ABC Benefits Corporation Act.

If passed, it would also repeal the Hospitals Act. Full details of the Health Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 are available online.

— With a file from Global News

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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