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College Raises Concerns Regarding Changes to PHIA

The government is moving forward with changes to the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA).  Once enacted, physicians (and all other health professionals) will be required to disclose their patient medical records to the Minister of Health. The parameters of the Minister’s access to patient records and the specifics of the data governance have not yet been defined.

In the view of the College, this new legislation will have a profound effect on medical practice and on the nature of the patient-doctor relationship which is based on trust and confidentiality.

When the College was told by government of these proposed changes I raised concerns regarding the impact on patient care, especially among those patient groups whose historic lived experience has eroded trust in the health care system. I recently made submissions to the Law Amendments Committee outlining these concerns relating to changes to PHIA, as proposed in s. 110 of the Financial Measures Act. I have attached my submissions to the committee here for your review.

The government is seeking to support patient empowerment through greater access to health data. The College supports these goals. The College which regulates medicine in the public interest is questioning whether steps have been taken to preserve patient privacy and whether there has been appropriate consultation with all affected groups. 


Dr. D.A. (Gus) Grant
Registrar and CEO
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Nova Scotia