The Government of Saskatchewan has amended The Health Information Protection Act (“HIPA”), effective today. These amendments arise from the recommendations of the Health Records Protection Working Group, contained in its 2014 Report, and are intended to improve the protection of personal health information by increasing the accountability of trustees and the employees of trustees responsible for protecting this information.

The amendments include:

  • A strict liability offence for trustees who have abandoned records containing personal health information. Specifically, if records containing personal health information are found unsecured, the trustee responsible for those records will be required to establish that it took all reasonable steps to prevent the abandonment;
  • Individual offences for employees who intentionally disclose personal health information contrary to HIPA;
  • A snooping offence for employees who wilfully access or use personal health information without a need to know; and
  • The establishment of a process for responding to the discovery of abandoned or unsecured records.

As these amendments do not address all of the recommendations made by the Health Records Protection Working Group, the government has indicated that it is developing a regulatory and policy framework to address the remaining recommendations. We will continue to follow these developments.