Canadian Underwriter

Government of Saskatchewan introduces new privacy legislation

June 14, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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The Government of Saskatchewan announced on Monday that new privacy legislation is being introduced and expected to come into force in 2017.

Opened notebook on personal data pageThe Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act, 2016 (FOIPP) and The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act, 2016 (LAFOIPP) are being introduced in response to recommendations made by provincial Information and Privacy Commissioner Ron Kruzeniski, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice said in a press release.

“Justice officials consulted with the Information and Privacy Commissioner to identify these priority changes and we welcome his leadership and expertise,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant said in the release. “This is a significant step forward in modernizing these Acts.”

Some of the amendments include:

  • a duty for government institutions and local authorities to assist applicants in obtaining information and a duty to protect personal information;
  • extension of the privacy requirements under FOIPP to include MLA and Cabinet Ministers’ offices;
  • extension of LAFOIPP to include police services;
  • increasing the penalties for offences; and
  • the creation of a new offence for snooping.

The government said in the release that it will work closely with police services and other stakeholders to implement the changes and develop necessary regulations before the acts come into force next year.

On June 1, amendments to The Health Information Protection Act (HIPA) came into effect, aimed at helping to protect personal health records in the province and increase accountability for those responsible for protecting those records. One amendment is a strict liability offence, meaning that if records are found unsecured, the trustee responsible would need to show they took all reasonable steps to prevent the abandonment.

Other amendments include:

  • An individual offence for willful disclosure of personal information – this change will make it clear that HIPA offences for intentional disclosure of personal health information apply not only to trustees, but to individuals who are employees of trustees;
  • A snooping offence: A specific offence will be established for inappropriate use of personal health information by employees who access information without a need for that information; and
  • A specific provision added to HIPA for a system to be put in place to quickly respond to a discovery of abandoned or unsecured records and to take control of the records.

The provincial Ministry of Health reported on May 31 that a Health Records Protection Working Group was formed in 2012 after a large number of medical records was found abandoned in a Regina dumpster.

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