IAPP-GDPR Web Banners-300x250-FINAL

Under paragraph 26(2)(b) of the Canadian federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”), the governor in council can exempt an organization, a class of organizations, an activity or a class of activities from the application of PIPEDA with respect to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information that occurs within a province that has passed legislation deemed to be substantially similar to the PIPEDA. To date, the following provincial privacy laws have been deemed to be substantially similar:

  • Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act;
  • BC’s Personal Information Protection Act;
  • New Brunswick’s Personal Health Information Privacy and Access Act;
  • Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act, and
  • Quebec’s An Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector.

On October 10, 2012, Exemption Order (SI/2012-72) added the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA), SNL 2008, c P-7.01, of Newfoundland and Labrador to the list of laws that are “substantially similar” to Part 1 of the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”). As of that date, health care organizations subject to PHIA are exempt from PIPEDA.

PHIA, which has been in effect since April 2011, applies to both public- and private-sector custodians, thus PHIA will take the place of both PIPEDA (as it relates to the private sector) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“ATIPPA”) (as it relates to the public sector). It is important to note that PHIA applies to custodians of personal health information, such as health care professionals (physicians, pharmacists, nurses and dentists), Eastern Health, Western Health, Central Health and Labrador-Grenfell Health, provincial government departments when engaged in health care activities and the Public Health Laboratory among others). Organizations that do not fall within the definition of a custodian continue to be subject under either PIPEDA or ATIPPA. PIPEDA continues to apply to personal information collected, used or disclosed by federal works, undertakings and businesses and collected, used or disclosed across provincial borders or federal borders in the course of business.

PHIA’s definition of “personal health information” is broad and includes identifiable information about physical and mental health, family history, organ donation, insurance coverage and prescriptions, both in oral and recorded form. Generally, the default position is that consent is required for the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information. Consent must be knowledgeable, relate to the information and not be obtained through deception or coercion; it may be either express or implied, subject to certain conditions. Consent may be withdrawn but does not prevent custodians from using personal health information where authorized without consent by PHIA.

PHIA provides for fines of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 6 months (or both) for any custodian who collects, uses or discloses personal health information contrary to the Act, fails to protect personal health information in a secure manner as required or discloses personal health information with the intent to obtain a monetary or other material benefit or to confer such a benefit on another person. 

Written By



If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.


Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

Latin America Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from Latin America

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Get more News »

Find a KnowledgeNet Chapter Near You

Network and talk privacy at IAPP KnowledgeNet meetings, taking place worldwide.

Women Leading Privacy

Events, volunteer opportunities and more designed to help you give and get career support and expand your network.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

The Training Post—Can’t-Miss Training Updates

Subscribe now to get the latest alerts on training opportunities around the world.

New Web Conferences Added!

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Staff

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

Get Close-up

Looking for tools and info on a hot topic? Our close-up pages organize it for you in one easy-to-find place.

Where's Your DPA?

Our interactive DPA locator helps you find data protection authorities and summary of law by country.

IAPP Westin Research Center

See the latest original research from the IAPP Westin fellows.

Looking for Certification Study Resources?

Find out what you need to prepare for your exams

More Resources »

GDPR Comprehensive: Spots Going Fast

With the top minds in the field leading this exceptional program, it's no wonder it's filling quickly. Register now to secure your spot.

Be Part of Something Big: Join the Summit

Registration is open for the Global Privacy Summit 2016. Discounted early bird rates available for a short time, register today!

Data Protection Intensive Returns to London

Registration is now open for the IAPP Europe Data Protection Intensive in London. Check out the program!

P.S.R. Call for Speakers Open!

P.S.R. is THE privacy + cloud security event of the year, and you can take a leading role. Propose a session for this year's program.

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

Exhibit at an Event

Put your brand in front of the largest gatherings of privacy pros in the world. Learn more.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»