Commissioner Responds to the Amendment of Sections 104(1)(d) and 35(1) of the Health Information Act

February 26, 2003

As recommended in my Order (H2002-004) the Government of Alberta has introduced an amendment to the Health Information Act (HIA) to provide authority for custodians to provide access to and disclosure of health records/information  of deceased individuals.

The proposed amendment to section 104(1)(d) of the HIA would allow personal representatives to exercise rights on behalf of deceased individuals for the purpose of administration of an estate.

The proposed amendment to section 35(1) would give custodians the discretion to disclose health information surrounding the death of an individual or information about a health service received by the individual shortly before death, to family members or individuals with close personal relationships to the deceased.

I recommended these types of amendments to the HIA in my Order to allow custodians to provide access and to disclose health records to personal representatives and family members of deceased individuals in appropriate circumstances.

Overall, I am very pleased to see these amendments, as they achieve the balance of allowing appropriate access to health information, while still protecting the privacy of deceased individuals.