Privacy of personal information is an essential principle to Jen Abbotts RMT. We are committed to collecting, using and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the goods and] services we provide. We try to be open and transparent about how we handle personal information. This document describes our privacy policies.
What is Personal Health Information?
Personal health information is information about an identifiable individual. Personal health information includes information that relates to:
• the physical or mental health of the individual (including family health history);
• the provision of health care to the individual (including identifying the individual’s health care provider);
• a plan of service under the Home Care and Community Services Act, 1994;
• payments or eligibility for health care or coverage for health care;
• the individual’s health number, or
• the identification of the individual’s substitute decision-maker.
Who We Are
The organization, Jen Abbotts RMT, includes at the time of writing One support staff other than myself. We use a massage clinic management company that may, in the course of their duties, have limited access to personal health information we hold. These include computer consultants, office security and maintenance, bookkeepers and accountants, lawyers, temporary workers to cover holidays, credit card companies, website managers and cleaners. We restrict their access to any personal information we hold as much as is reasonably possible. We also have their assurance that they follow appropriate privacy principles.
Why We Collect Personal Health Information
We collect, use and disclose personal information in order to serve our clients. For our clients, the primary purpose of collecting personal health information is to provide massage therapy. For example, we collect information about a client’s health history, including their family history, physical condition and function and social situation in order to help us assess what their health needs are, to advise them of their options and then to provide the health care they choose to have.
A second primary purpose is to obtain a baseline of health and social information so that in providing ongoing health services, we can identify changes that are occurring over time. We also collect, use and disclose personal health information for purposes related to or secondary to our primary purposes. The most common examples of our related and secondary purposes are as follows:
#1:To obtain payment for services or goods provided. Payment may be obtained from the individual, OHIP, WSIB, private insurers or others.
#2: To conduct quality improvement and risk management activities. We review client files to ensure that we provide high-quality services, including assessing the performance of our staff.
#3:To promote our clinic, new services, special events and opportunities (e.g. a seminar or conference) that we have available. We will always obtain express consent from the client before collecting or handling personal health information for this purpose.
#4:To comply with external regulators. Our professionals are regulated by The College of Massage Therapists (CMTO), who may inspect our records and interview our staff as a part of its regulatory activities in the public interest. The College of Massage Therapists (CMTO) has its own strict confidentiality and privacy obligations. In addition, as professionals, we will report serious misconduct, incompetence or incapacity of other practitioners, whether they belong to other organizations or our own. Also, our organization believes that it should report information suggesting illegal behaviour to the authorities. In addition, we may be required by law to disclose personal health information to various government agencies (e.g. Ministry of Health, children’s aid societies, Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, Information and Privacy Commissioner, etc.).
Protecting Personal Information
We understand the importance of protecting personal information. For that reason, we have taken the following steps:
- Paper information is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area.
- Electronic hardware is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area at all times. In addition, strong passwords are used on all computers and mobile devices.
- Personal health information is only stored on mobile devices if necessary. All personal health information stored on mobile devices is protected by strong encryption.
- Electronic information is either anonymized or encrypted before being transmitted.
- We do not post any personal information about our clients on social media sites, and our staff members are trained in the appropriate use of social media sites.
- External consultants and agencies with access to personal information must enter into privacy agreements with us.
Retention and Destruction of Personal Information
We need 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. However, in order to protect your privacy, we do not want to keep personal information for too long.
We keep our client files for at least ten years from the date of the last client interaction or from the date the client turns 18.
We destroy paper files containing personal health information by cross-cut shredding. We destroy electronic information by deleting it in a manner that it cannot be restored. When hardware is discarded, we ensure that the device is physically destroyed or the data is erased or overwritten in a manner that the information cannot be recovered.
You Can Look at Your Records
With only a few exceptions, you have the right to see what personal information we hold about you by contacting Jen Abbotts. We can help you identify what records we might have about you. We will also try to help you understand any information you do not understand (e.g., short forms, technical language, etc.). We will need to confirm your identity before providing you with this access.
We may ask you to put your request in writing. We will respond to your request as soon as possible and generally within 30 days, if at all possible. If we cannot give you access, we will tell you the reason, as best we can, as to why.
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. At your request and where it is reasonably possible, we will notify anyone to whom we sent this information(but we may deny your request if it would not reasonably have an effect on the ongoing provision of health care). 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.
If there is a Privacy Breach
While we will take precautions to avoid any breach of your privacy, if there is a loss, theft or unauthorized access of your personal health information, we will notify you. Upon learning of a possible or known breach, we will take the following steps:
We will contain the breach to the best of our ability, including by taking the next steps if applicable
- Retrieving hard copies of personal health information that have been disclosed
- Ensuring no copies have been made
- Taking steps to prevent unauthorized access to electronic information (e.g., change passwords, restrict access, temporarily shut down the system)
- We will notify affected individuals
- We will provide our contact information in case the individual has further questions
- We will provide the Commissioner’s contact information and advise the affected individual of their right to complain to the Commissioner
- We will investigate and remediate the problem by:
- Conducting an internal investigation
- Determining what steps should be taken to prevent future breaches (e.g. changes to policies, additional safeguards)
- Ensuring staff is appropriately trained and undertake further training if required.
Do You Have Questions or Concerns?
We can be reached at
Jen Abbotts RMT
Address: 658 Danforth Ave Suite 301A, Toronto, ON M4J 5B9
Phone: (647) 994-6457
You also have the right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario if you have concerns about our privacy practices or how your personal health information has been handled, by contacting:
Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario
2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400