News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

December 4, 2018


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Changes Would Allow Better Protection for Patients and Public: Friesen

Proposed changes to legislation would allow a person’s personal health information to be disclosed without their consent if necessary to reduce the risk of serious harm to themselves or others, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

“There have been incidents in Manitoba where health-care professionals were prevented from conveying their concerns to a patient’s support network that have ended in tragedy,” said Friesen.  “These amendments will bring Manitoba in line with jurisdictions that have done a better job of balancing the duty to protect personal health information with the need to notify loved ones in rare cases where an individual discharged from hospital can possibly present danger to themselves or others.”

An amendment to The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) would allow trustees of personal health information to disclose an individual’s medical records without consent to caregivers, loved ones or support people if they believe doing so reduces the risk of serious harm being done to the health or safety of that person or anyone else.  Trustees include health-care professionals, as well as health facilities, agencies and public bodies that collect or maintain personal health information.

The Mental Health Act would also be amended to allow disclosure of information from a patient’s clinical record in a psychiatric facility without consent.  The disclosure would only be made if the facility’s medical director had reason to believe it necessary to reduce the risk of serious harm to the mental or physical health or safety of the patient or another person.

“These common-sense changes to legislation successfully weighs the health and well-being of individuals against the importance of safeguarding their personal health information,” said Friesen.

The Virgo report, which outlined a mental health and addictions strategy for Manitoba, was supportive of improving practices to facilitate the sharing of information with family members and loved ones. The minister said a review of PHIA legislation is currently underway, noting further amendments may be considered and introduced in 2019.

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