Client confidentiality and the protection of privacy is extremely important to the Child, Adolescent, and Family Centre of Ottawa (CAFCO, “we” and “us”). This Privacy Notice explains how CAFCO and its professionals collect, use, disclose and otherwise handle personal health information.
CAFCO is a multi-disciplinary group of professionals that includes psychologists, occupational therapists, pediatricians, psychometrists, psychotherapists, social workers, and speech-language pathologists.
CAFCO and its professionals are each “health information custodians”, or “custodians” for the purposes of the Ontario Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA). We are collectively responsible for protecting client privacy by complying with PHIPA as well as obligations for privacy and confidentiality established by the various self-regulatory bodies that apply to our professionals.
What is personal health information?
Personal health information includes information about an individual that:
- relates to the physical or mental health or health history of an individual;
- is about the provision of health care to an individual;
- relates to payment for or eligibility for health care; and
- consists of non-health information that is included in a client’s file, such as contact information (e.g., address, telephone number).
Collection, use and disclosure of personal health information
We collect, use and disclose personal health information only as is reasonably necessary to provide services to our clients. We collect and use information about a client’s health history, including their family history, physical condition and function and social situation so that we can refer them to the appropriate professional, assess their physical or mental health needs, develop recommendations for treatment, and provide mental or physical health services chosen by the client. We also collect and use personal health information for other related purposes, such as contacting clients, scheduling appointments and processing payment for services.
In almost all circumstances personal health information is collected, used and/or disclosed only with the informed express consent of clients or substitution decision-makers. Only in rare cases do we collect, use or disclose personal information without your express consent, which could include the following:
- If you are in danger of seriously hurting yourself
- If there is a danger that you will hurt someone else
- Child protection: This applies to any child who is, or appears to be, under the age of 16 years. It also applies to children already under a child protection order who are 16 and 17 years old.
- If we have reasonable grounds to suspect a child is in need of protection, in other words, has been, is or is in danger of physical, sexual, emotional or mental abuse or neglect, we will have to inform the appropriate authorities.
- If a known sexual perpetrator is in close contact with a child, we are required to report this individual to the appropriate authorities.
- If a case goes to court, your records may be court ordered.
- If a health care provider in Ontario has sexually abused you, it will be reported to their regulatory college.
- To allow the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) to review psychological files during an audit as part of their Quality Assurance program.
We will never use or share your personal health information for marketing purposes.
Visitors to our website
Our web server automatically collects anonymous data about visitors to our website, including internet protocol addresses, date, time and the pages viewed. We use this information to better understand how people interact with our site in order to improve it. We do not know the identity of anyone who visits our site, unless the person voluntarily provides contact information.
Protection of personal health information
Information and electronic systems are never completely secure, but we have in place administrative, technical and physical security controls to reduce the risk that personal health information could be subject to unauthorized access, use or disclosure. This includes the following measures:
- Information in paper format is either under direct supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area at all times.
- Electronic hardware is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area at all times. Computers are encrypted and password-protected.
- Access to client records in electronic systems is subject to technical restrictions limiting access to those individuals who require access in order to perform their legitimate duties.
- CAFCO professionals and staff sign confidentiality agreements requiring compliance with and are trained on CAFCO privacy policies and procedures.
Use of Service Providers
CAFCO uses Owl practice management software to create and store client records, schedule appointments, obtain and record client consent, and for providing virtual care. All information in Owl is stored on servers that are located in Canada.
Retention and destruction of personal information
We are required to retain your information for minimum time periods so that we can answer any questions you might have about the services provided, as well as to meet professional regulatory obligations.
For example, our psychologists are required to retain client files for a period of 10 years after the child turns 18.
Personal health information that is no longer required is permanently destroyed or returned to the client. Electronic information is destroyed through permanent deletion, while paper files are shredded, both in accordance with recognized industry standards.
Access to your personal health information and contact information
You have a general right to access the personal health information that we have about you, as well as to request that we correct any errors in that information. If you require access to your personal health information, or have any questions or concerns about our privacy practices, please contact our privacy officer by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 613-567-0777.
If you have a question
We will attempt to answer any questions or concerns that you might have. If you wish to make a formal complaint about our privacy policies, you may make it in writing to your provider. We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint, ensure that it is investigated promptly, and we will provide you with a formal written decision with reasons.
We would ask that you first discuss any concerns with us. However, if we cannot satisfy your concerns, you are entitled to complain to our regulatory body:
The College of Psychologists of Ontario
110 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 500
Toronto, ON M4R 1A3
Tel.: (800) 489-8388
Fax.: (416) 961-2635
This policy is made under the Personal Health Information Protection Act. It is a complex Act and provides some additional exceptions to the privacy principles that are too detailed to set out here. There are some rare exceptions to the commitments set out above.
For more general inquiries, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario oversees the administration of the privacy legislation in the private sector. The Commissioner also acts as a kind of ombudsman for privacy disputes.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner can be reached at:
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, ON M4W 1A8
Tel.: (416) 326-3333
Fax.: (416) 325-9195