Who can see my mental health records?

5. Complain to the IPC

If you believe a person shared your mental health information when they didn't have the right to do this, you can complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPCO). For example, if your doctor gave your mental health information to your parent without your permission.

In most cases, you have to complain to the IPCO within 6 months of when your violated your privacy. If it's past 6 months, you have to explain why you're complaining late. 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 Privacy 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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