BC Privacy Commissioner says its time to crack down on privacy breaches of hospital records

B.C. privacy commissioner Michael McEvoy says it should be illegal to snoop in a patient's medical files.

The latest privacy breach happened at Nanaimo General Hospital last week.

McEvoy says it is illegal under the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act to disclose or leak personal information, but it is not an offence to improperly access personal records and information.  He says its high time we acted on this.

"This affects all of us in society, which is why we need to have a public sanction.  We've called for up to $50,000 in fines which would bring us in line with other western provinces and in fact would bring us in line with most of what is going on in this country."

In June 2016, Island Health reported two non-clinical support staff snooped through the files of 198 family, friends and prominent people going back about 16 months. A month later, in an unrelated case, a Victoria-based support staff member misused access privileges to view medical records of 34 patients.

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