Do I have a right to see my mental health records?

3. Get your health records

When your gives you a written response to your request, it will include:

  • all the information you asked for,
  • some of the information you asked for,
  • none of the information you asked for, or
  • a statement saying that those don't exist.

If your health-care provider doesn't give you a written response within 30 days and didn't ask to extend that deadline, the law says it's the same as if they gave you a response with none of the information you asked for.

If you get any of your health records, go through them carefully. You can ask your health-care provider to explain any medical words or information in your records that you don't understand.

You may notice information that's missing or details that are incorrect. If you think that the missing or incorrect information is important, ask your health-care provider to correct your records. You don't always have to ask for this in writing.

For example, you can tell your doctor, “My address is 25 College Street, not 25 College Avenue.” Your health-care provider can usually correct simple information without a written request.

But sometimes, your health-care provider will not correct your records unless you make a request in writing.

If your health-care provider doesn't have a form you can use to correct information in your records, you can use this template, or write a letter that includes important details such as:

  • your name and address
  • the name of your health-care provider and their address
  • details of the information you're asking to be corrected

Deadline to correct your record

Your health-care provider has 30 days to correct your records. They can extend the deadline by another 30 days if:

  • your request will take a lot of time to correct, or
  • they need to talk to other people before correcting your record

If your health-care provider extends the deadline, they must send you a letter explaining why.

Incorrect records must be corrected

In most situations, your health-care provider must correct your record if they learn any information is missing or is incorrect.

But your health-care provider does not have to correct your record if:

  • the information was created by another health-care provider, and the current health-care provider doesn't know enough about the previous situation to correct the information
  • they believe the information in your record is correct

Complain about information not corrected

If your health-care provider refuses to add missing information or fix incorrect information, you can complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. Step 4 explains how to do this.

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