Privacy Frequently Asked Questions
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Answers to your common privacy questions

About my information

What is information privacy?

Information Privacy refers to the right of an individual to have some control over the collection, use, and sharing of their personal information. In addition to it being an individual’s legal right, privacy is also a personal value that is interpreted differently by each of us and impacted by our age, gender, and societal norms – what privacy means to one person may not be the same to another. While one person may tell you their entire health history in five minutes, another may not wish to disclose anything to you.

What is confidentiality?

Confidentiality refers to the duty or obligation of an individual or organization to ensure that personal and confidential information in their custody and control is kept secure and is collected, accessed, used, and disclosed appropriately to only authorized persons.

What is information security?

Information Security is the protection of information against accidental or malicious disclosure, modification or destruction. Interior Health uses various safeguard methods to ensure that all information is protected accordingly.

Does Interior Health have a policy about privacy and confidentiality?

Yes. Interior Health is legally and ethically responsible to protect the privacy of personal information under our custody and control. Our policy AR0400 – Privacy & Management of Confidential Information provides a framework for the consistent management of personal and business information collected, used, disclosed and protected by Interior Health in accordance with the principles and requirements of various legislative Acts, including but not limited to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, professional bylaws, privacy codes, and standards of practice.

Why does Interior Health collect personal information about me?

We collect your personal information to assist us in providing you with care and services. We also require your information to determine your eligibility for various benefits and services. Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Interior Health is obligated to notify you about the reasons for the collection and use of your personal information, and does so on the Caring for Your Information Notification Sign posted at all facilities detailing the authority under which we can collect information.

Is my personal information kept confidential in Interior Health?

We take the privacy of your personal information very seriously and have employed measures to ensure your personal information is treated in a strict confidential manner according to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Our Caring for Your Information Notification sign highlights the reasons under which we may share your information.

Who can I contact if I have concerns that my health record or personal information wasn’t kept confidential?

The Information Privacy & Security office exists to oversee the information and privacy practices of Interior Health and ensure they are in compliance with policies, as well as the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. You may contact our office by phone (toll free) at 1-855-980-5020 or by email. To protect your privacy, please refrain from providing personal health information or any other sensitive information via email.

How do I get access to my health record?

Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, patients/residents/clients can request access to their health record. For details on how to obtain a copy of your health record please visit the requesting your personal health records page.

About legislation in British Columbia

What is the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)?

FIPPA came into force in British Columbia in 1993 to provide a legislative framework for information and privacy rights by governing public bodies’ management of personal and/or business information held in records within their custody or control. FIPPA makes the health authority more accountable to the public and provides strong protection for an individual’s personal privacy.

Under FIPPA, personal information is defined as any recorded information that uniquely identifies you, which includes, but is not limited to your name, address, phone number, sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, fingerprints, disability or blood type.

Confidential business information includes, but is not limited to: draft correspondence; financial forecasts not yet made public; some third party business information typically supplied in confidence; specific contract language; legal opinions prepared for the health authority; some quality improvement information; ongoing labour relations issues not yet resolved; negotiations carried on or for the public body.

Further information is available from the Office of the Information Privacy Commissioner of BC website including: A Guide to Access to Information and Privacy Protection Under BC's FIPPA (pdf).

What is the eHealth Act?

B.C.'s new eHealth (Personal Health Information Access and Protection of Privacy - PHIAPP) Act was introduced in April 2008 to move B.C. a step closer to its goal of giving citizens access to their health records and medical information, while protecting privacy, through electronic health records. Access to patient information will be restricted to only those having a legal right and clear need to access the information or to access the systems where the information resides.

Further information is available from the Ministry of Health eHealth website.


MoH     PCQO