Amendment of Regulation O. Reg. 329/04 (General) under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA)
Regulation - LGIC
Bill or Act:
Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 (PHIPA)
Summary of Decision:
This regulation was approved on July 30, 2020 and filed on July 30, 2020.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The Ministry received TB/MBC approval on April 7, 2020 to proceed with a transfer payment agreement in 2020/21 to immediately establish the Health Data Platform (HDP).
Key infrastructure components will remain post-emergency as a government-sponsored research platform, for which the Ministry will seek at a later time the appropriate authorities to collect, use and disclose the data post-emergency.
The proposed regulatory amendments have no additional costs or burdens on the public. Ontario Health and ICES will be impacted as the organizations permitted to disclose the PHI at the request of the Minister.
June 19, 2020
Summary of Proposal:
The purpose of the regulation is to allow the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Ontario Health (OH) to disclose personal health information (PHI) to the MOH, at the request of the Minister of Health for specific purposes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This regulation is needed to enable the Health Data Platform announced by the government in April of this year.
Ontario currently does not have easily accessible datasets in one repository with the capacity required for high performance computing and fine-grained analysis. To enable big data analysis and protect privacy, ICES and OH (prescribed entities or PEs under PHIPA) would disclose the PHI to the MOH where the disclosure is necessary for the purposes of researching, analyzing, investigating, preventing, responding to or alleviating COVID-19 or its effects. Allowing for this type of disclosure of PHI by ICES and subsequent collection of PHI by the MOH into the Health Data Platform would assist in the prevention, response to and alleviation of COVID-19.
The resulting centralized repository with authoritative data would allow for better modelling by using information that is standardized, anonymized, appropriately linked, and will be made available for analytics and research. The information would be used to conduct conventional and machine learning analysis in order to quickly generate insights to improve Ontario's response to COVID-19.
Christine Sham, Director
Information Management Strategy and Policy Branch
Digital Health Division
Ministry of Health
1075 Bay St., 13th floor
Toronto, ON M5S 2B1
July 30, 2020