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Privacy Principles & Practices

Our Privacy Commitment to You

Markham Stouffville Hospital Corporation is committed to integrity in making decisions involving your privacy. We pride ourselves on our vigilance in protecting your personal information and your personal health information (“information”). Whether you are working for our hospital or visiting, you trust us with your information. To honour that trust, we are committed to using your information for legitimate purposes and take reasonable steps to protect your information from theft, loss, unauthorized access, copying, modification, use, disclosure and disposal.

As part of this commitment, Markham Stouffville Hospital Corporation had adopted the 10 Principles of Privacy established by the Canadian Standards Association’s Model Code for the protection of information.

Markham Stouffville Hospital’s Privacy Principles:


All employees, physicians, contractors, consultants, volunteers and students are responsible for the day-to-day accountability for meeting our privacy, confidentiality and security obligations. The hospital’s Chief Privacy Officer oversees compliance with the Privacy Principles as well as the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), and the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

Identifying Purpose

Our privacy practices are governed by PHIPA and FIPPA. In accordance with these Acts, we collect information about you either from you or from the person/organization authorized to act on your behalf.

We also collect personal information through recorded images using our video surveillance system for safety and security operations at the hospital.

The information we collect is used and provided as reasonably necessary to:

  • Treat and care for you
  • Get payment for your treatment and care from OHIP, WSIB, your private insurer or others
  • Plan, administer and manage our internal operations
  • Conduct risk management activities
  • Conduct quality improvement activities
  • Conduct research as approved by the Research Ethics Board
  • Compile statistics
  • Conduct patient satisfaction surveys
  • Comply with legal and regulatory requirements
  • Fulfill other purposes as permitted or required by law
  • Notify a representative of a religious or other organization to visit you during your stay
  • Notify you of an appointment or change an appointment
  • Confirm that you are a patient, your general health status and your room and telephone extension while in hospital
  • Locate you and your family in urgent/emergent situations using an overhead paging system
  • Fundraise to improve our healthcare facilities, services and program
  • The Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario
  • The Government of Canada in order to facilitate the auditing of shared cost programs
  • A prescribed person/entity who compiles or maintains a registry of personal health information for purposes of facilitating or improving the provision of health care

We obtain an individual’s consent for collection, use and disclose of their information, except where otherwise required or permitted by law.

In accordance with PHIPA, we advise visitors and callers of an individual’s presence in our hospital, unless the individual withdraws from this process. You may also choose to withdraw from our foundation fundraising or patient satisfaction surveys by visiting our “opt-out” page (link to opt-out screen).

We will only use your information for secondary purposes with your expressed consent. Examples of those would include:

  • Disclosures to other healthcare providers outside of  your current obvious “circle of care”
  • To health research where some personal identifiable information is required and the hospital research ethics committee requires specific consent be sought.

Any information that is used and/or disclosed must comply with Markham Stouffville Hospital’s Privacy Policy.

Limiting Collection

Markham Stouffville Hospital collects your information only for lawfully, authorized purposes. The collection and disclosure is limited to that necessary to provide care, to assist in the provision of care and to properly carry out related administrative and reporting obligations. Information is only collected fairly and lawfully. An individual is never deceived or coerced in order to obtain their consent.

When you visit our website you do so anonymously. There is no need to tell us when you do.

Limiting use, disclosure and retention

Your information will only be used or disclosed for the purpose for which it was collected, unless you have otherwise consented, or when it is required or permitted by law. MSH retains your information for the period of time prescribed by our retention policy.

Personal health information is disclosed as necessary for the purpose for which it is collected, with consent, and as required or permitted by law.

Disclosure is permitted or required to the following:

  • You, your legal guardian or substitute decision maker
  • To care providers to determine suitability for transfer to another facility and to provide for ongoing care
  • To care providers to improve/maintain the quality of your care and of those provided similar care
  • Registries and entities prescribed in regulation such as Cancer Care Ontario, the Cardiac Care Network, Canadian Stroke Network, INSCYTE, the Institute for Clinical Evaluation Services, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ontario Institute for Health Research, BORN, Trillium Gift of Life and health regulatory agencies
  • Health Information Networks such as the electronic Child Health Network (eCHN), Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services (HDIRS) and Ontario Laboratory Information System (OLIS).
  • Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care e-health projects such as the Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI) and Wait Time Information System
  • Researchers if the research has been approved by our Research Ethics Board
  • The Medical Officer of Health to report communicable diseases
  • The Workplace Safety & Insurance Board
  • Law enforcement officers who present a warrant or subpoena, or to aid in an investigation
  • The Children's Aid Society where child abuse is suspected; the Children's Lawyer
  • The Public Guardian and Trustee
  • The Coroner.

Markham Stouffville Hospital is a member of the Health Information Networks noted above. These networks permit care providers, with patient consent to securely share electronic patient health information for the purpose of providing timely and coordinated patient care. For more information see below.

  • Child Health Network (eCHN): a secure electronic system for children's medical records. About 40 health care providers in Ontario are members of eCHN.  Members provide eCHN with laboratory results, doctor's notes, x-rays and visit information as well as name, age, address and contact information. This means that if your child is provided care at any of these 40 facilities, the care provider may access their medical record on the electronic system. If you do not want your child's records included in the system, please tell us. For more information please visit www.echn.ca.
  • Hospital Diagnostic Image Repository Services (HDIRS): permits hospitals to securely share exams and diagnostic images electronically. This protects patients because it avoids duplication of tests and thereby decreases the number of X-Rays and other tests that expose patients to radiation. Please tell us if you do not want to participate in HDIRS. For more information please visit the eHealth Ontario website.
  • Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS): an electronic system managed by eHealth Ontario. It allows hospitals and community laboratories to securely share your lab test results with your health care providers. If you do not want your lab tests to be stored in OLIS, please tell us or call Service Ontario at 1-800-291-1406; TTY 1-800-268-7095.

Admission, Location, Condition: Markham Stouffville Hospital will confirm that an individual is a patient in the hospital and provide location and general condition information unless there is an objection. We obtain consent at the first reasonable opportunity. If you do not want this information disclosed, please tell us and we will respect your wishes.


All reasonable steps are taken to ensure that your information is as accurate, complete and up-to-date as is necessary for the purpose for which it is collected. You can help us with this when you register for services by having the full name and current contact information for your family physician. This helps to ensure that reports are sent to the correct physician.

If you have visited us previously, we will ask you to confirm your registration information to ensure it is still current and correct.


Markham Stouffville Hospital takes reasonable steps to ensure your personal information is protected. Some of the specific steps we take to protect your privacy while delivering safe, high-quality care are:

  • Physical measures: i.e. lockable filing cabinets and restricting access to offices that contain personal information.
  • Organizational measures: i.e. limiting access to personal information on a “need-to-know” basis
  • Technological measures: i.e. the use of passwords and system access controls
  • Auditing measures: regular privacy audits of system access and use, including appropriate disciplinary action for non-compliance with legal and hospital requirements governing access to information

Markham Stouffville Hospital is open about our privacy and information management policies and practices. Individuals are provided meaningful information about practices through a combination of public notices including this website, policies, registration forms, and oral communication. Large notices summarizing our collection, use and disclosure practices are prominently posted in various registration areas throughout the hospital.

FileClick here to download the Privacy of Personal Health Information Policy


Individual’s have a right to access and/or correct their information that is in the custody and/or control of Markham Stouffville Hospital Corporation unless a provision under PHIPA permits otherwise.

To obtain access and/or request a correction to your personal health information (aka health record, please visit our Requesting Your Personal Health Information page.

To access general records of personal information please visit our Information Requests page.

Challenging Compliance

For more information about our privacy practices or to raise a concern you may have about these practices, please contact:

Chief Privacy Officer

Office of Access and Privacy
381 Church Street
Markham, ON
L3P 7P3
905-472-7373 x6004
Email: privacy@msh.on.ca

You may also make a complaint to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario if you believe we have violated your privacy rights. The Commissioner can be reached at:

Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario

2 Bloor Street East, Suite 1400
Toronto, ON
M4W 1A8
Tel: 416-326-3333 or toll free at 1-800-387-0073
Fax: 416-325-9195
Website: www.ipc.on.ca