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

4. Complain to the IPC

You can complain about your health to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPCO) if, for example, your :

  • doesn't give you any information or gives you only some of the information you asked for
  • says the records you want don't exist, but you are sure that they do
  • refuses to correct your records
  • is charging you a fee for your records that's too high
  • isn't waiving the fee for your records, even though you can't afford it

In most cases, you have to complain to the IPCO within 6 months of getting your health-care provider's decision. If it's past 6 months, you have to explain why you're complaining after the deadline. The IPCO may still accept your complaint if you have a good reason. For example, if you couldn't complain because you were in the hospital.

To make an official complaint, you must fill out the IPCO Access/Correction Complaint Form. The form asks you for details such as:

  • your name and address
  • the name of your health-care provider and their address
  • what you're complaining about
  • what you've done to try to resolve the issues

You can also add evidence to your complaint, such as letters from your health-care provider.

You don't have to pay a fee to complain to the IPCO.

Complaint process

It's often helpful to ask a lawyer for help with your complaint, but you don't need to have a lawyer.

There are 3 main steps in the process:

  1. Gather information: The IPCO talks to you and your health-care provider separately to understand the situation.
  2. Mediation: You, your health-care provider, and an IPCO mediator meet to see if you can agree on how to resolve your complaint. This is sometimes called a “settlement”.
  3. Adjudication: If you don't agree, an adjudicator decides your complaint. An adjudicator is like a judge. They listen to you and to your health-care provider and look at all the evidence before making a decision.

After the adjudication, if you're still not satisfied with the decision, you can ask for a “judicial review”. This is where a court looks into your case.

Going to court is complicated. You can talk to a lawyer who can help you figure out if going to court will be helpful. They can also help you with the court process.

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