Public Health Information Privacy and Confidentiality

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Personal Health Information, Privacy Protections, Public Health Information, Medical Confidentiality, Public Health Reporting, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Division of Powers, Health Legislation


If you've been searching for a comprehensive overview of Canadian public health law and policy, look no further. Edited by leading health law scholars and featuring contributions from renowned experts in the field, Public Health Law & Policy in Canada is the definitive guide to the foundations of law system that applies to healthcare in Canada.

This chapter focuses on Public Health Information Privacy and Confidentiality. A complex web of legislation, common law, and constitutional issues exists with regard to public health information in Canada. On the one hand, there are calls for drastic improvement in the infrastructure of the reporting of communicable diseases. On the other hand, we have a plethora of legislation aimed at improving privacy protections for personal health information, accompanied by an increasing concern on the part of Canadians as to whether our highly sensitive health information is receiving adequate protection. These two areas-- demand for increased reporting in the area of public health, and greater concern for privacy protections-- have not yet been reconciled. This makes analysis of the sort undertaken in this chapter a major challenge. Thus, the discussion here is by no means exhaustive; this area is worthy of further examination.