Do I have a right to see my mental health records?
Question & AnswerDo I have a right to see my mental health records?
You have the right to see and get a copy of almost all your health , including records about your mental health. This applies to records kept by any , such as your doctor, psychotherapist, or counsellor.
You usually have to fill out a form or write a letter asking your health-care provider for a copy of your records.
You can ask for any records you want, but health-care providers only have to keep records for a certain amount of time. Each health-care profession has its own rules. For example, doctors must keep records for adults for 10 years.
You may also have to pay them a fee to cover the costs of getting your records.
If you want to see someone else’s health records you have to first understand the laws related to privacy.
These laws say a health-care provider must get your permission before they share your health records with someone else. For example, your health-care provider must get your permission to share your health records with your parents. If a health-care provider gives your parents information without your permission, you can complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPCO).
Information you cannot get
While you have the right to see your records, there are certain types of information in them that your health-care provider is not allowed to give you. These may include:
- Information related to a court case or legal investigation, if it’s still going on. For example, records related to a psychological assessment that a court has ordered, or an Ontario Disability Support Program investigation.
- Information that could cause you or another person to get seriously hurt. For example, if you’ve told your doctor you’re seriously going to hurt yourself.
- Information that could seriously harm your . For example, if your doctor knows that certain information makes you angry and violent, they may decide to not give it to you.
- The name of a person who gave your health-care provider information in private.
Your health-care provider should remove the information you’re not allowed to see before giving you the rest of your record.
If you find mistakes or notice information missing from your records, you can ask your health-care provider to correct them. Read more about this in Step 3.
You can complain to the IPCO, if your health-care provider:
- doesn’t give you any information
- gives you only some of the information you asked for
- refuses to correct a mistake
- refuses to add missing information
The IPCO has the power to give you a copy of your records.