WHO WE ARE
Psychology Group includes psychologists, psychological associates, psychometrists, allied health professionals, and administrative and clerical support staff. We work with consultants and
agencies that may, in the course of their duties, have limited access to the personal information we hold. All members of our organization are required to respect personal information and have asserted that they will follow appropriate privacy principles.
WHAT IS PERSONAL INFORMATION?
Personal information is data about an identifiable person that includes: personal characteristics (e.g., gender, age, home address or phone number, ethnic background); health(e.g., health history, health conditions, health services being received); or, activities and views (e.g., religion, politics, opinions expressed by an individual).
PRINCIPLES OF PRIVACY
COMMITMENT TO PRIVACY
We are committed to collecting, using, and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary. We also try to be open and transparent as to how we handle personal information.
You have the right to determine how your personal health information is used and disclosed. In the majority of cases, we obtain expressed consent from our clients to obtain their information.
There are rare instances when we collect personal information without the client's express consent. This might occur when we believe the client would consent if asked and it is impractical to obtain consent (e.g., a family member passing a message on from our client).
WHY WE COLLECT INFORMATION
For our clients and patients, we collect information about: health history, family history; physical, psychological and neuropsychological condition and function; and, social/vocational situation.
The primary purpose of collecting this information is to help us:
Assess psychological/health needs;
Advise about available treatment options;
Provide psychological/health care;
Make recommendations to patients and third parties about impairments, their cause, their prognosis, treatment options, future care needs, disability, entitlement to benefits such as income replacement, treatment, etc.
Secondary purposes for collection, usage, and disclosure of information are:
To send copies of all reports and relevant documents;
To invoice for goods or services or to collect unpaid accounts;
Review client information for the purpose of in-house quality assurance including assessing the performance of our staff
Review of client information by external consultants and government agencies for auditing purposes;
Third-party payers such as Auto Insurance and Extended Health Benefits Insurance: These third-party payers often have your consent or legislative authority to direct us to collect and disclose to them certain information to demonstrate entitlement to this funding. You should be aware that only relevant information will be provided to a third party paying for our services, and that this information will only be used to advance your assessment or treatment as needed. Such disclosure does not represent a waiver of our therapist-client confidentiality;
Review of records for the purpose of "due diligence" by a reputable purchaser of Psychology Group or its assets. Before being provided access to the files, the purchaser must provide a written agreement to keep all personal information confidential.
Disclosures are only made to your own representative and within the requirements of privacy legislation (with your consent, to your own treatment providers,etc.). No disclosures of personal health information will be made to people outside the circle of care of treatment providers and your own representative without your consent.
There are certain situations in which we are required to break confidentiality and disclose personal information:
If you tell us that you intend to harm yourself or someone else, we are required to try to help you or the person you intend to hurt;
If you tell us that you know of a child who is being hurt or abused or even threatened, or you simply suspect may be hurt or abused, we are mandated by law to notify the Children's Aid Society;
If you tell us of a regulated health professional who is sexually abusing a patient, we are mandated by law to notify the organization that regulates that profession.
These situations do not arise very often. But, when they do, you must understand that we are required by law to report them, even if it means breaking confidentiality and disclosing your personal information without your consent. Each of these situations likely will involve further actions or investigations by the parties notified.
PROTECTING PERSONAL INFORMATION
We understand the importance of protecting personal information. For that reason, we have taken the following steps:
All patient information, whether in paper or electronic form, is either under the supervision of an
Employee, or secured in a locked or restricted area at all times.No patient information is saved on local hard drives or mobile devices; it is accessible only through a networked and password-protected, firewalled server.
All staff members have been trained in privacy procedures and understand that you may withdraw your consent to participate in any process(assessment or treatment)at any time.
Disclosures are only made to your own representative and within the requirements of privacy
legislation(with your consent, to your own treatment providers,etc.).
RETENTION AND DESTRUCTION
We are required to retain personal information for some time to ensure that we can answer any questions you might have about the services provided and for our own accountability to external regulatory bodies. We keep our client files for at least ten years after the last date of service for adults and ten years after a child's 21 birthday. When they are no longer required, we follow industry standards for destroying paper files.
ACCESS AND CORRECTION - YOU CAN LOOK AT YOUR INFORMATION
With a few exceptions, you have the right to see what personal information we hold about you. Often all you have to do is ask. We will need to confirm your identity before providing you with this access. We can help you:
Identify what records we might have about you.
Understand any information you do not understand(e.g., short forms, technical language,etc.).
We reserve the right to charge a nominal fee for such requests. If there is a problem, we may ask you to put your request in writing. If we cannot give you access, we will tell you within 30 days if at all possible and advise you of the reason, as best we can, as to why we cannot give you access.
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 that we made a mistake, we will make the correction and notify anyone to whom we sent this information. If we do not agree that we have made a mistake, we will still agree to include in our file a brief statement from you on the point and we will forward that statement to anyone
else who received the earlier information.
OPENNESS - DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION?
Contact us at our office:
1801 - 1 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON, M5E 1W7
Phone: (800) 345-8931
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, Ontario M4R 1A3
Phone: (416) 961-8817 | (800) 489-8388
This policy is made under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and the Personal Health Information Act. These are complex pieces of legislation that provide 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 for personal health information. 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
Toronto, Ontario, M4W1A8
Phone: (416) 326-3333 | (800) 387-0073 | TTY (416) 325-7539
1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801
Toronto, ON M5E 1W7