Lab Assistant Fined for Snooping on Health Information

January 22, 2019

A lab assistant with Calgary Laboratory Services (CLS) pleaded guilty to accessing health information in violation of the Health Information Act (HIA) on January 15, 2019.

Alaa Hammoud was found to have inappropriately accessed the health records of 11 Albertans between July 18, 2016 and September 5, 2017. He received a $3,500 fine. The accesses occurred in Chestermere and Calgary.

The breach of health information was initially discovered by his employer through a routine audit of accesses in an electronic health record system. CLS reported the breach to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) and notified individuals affected by the breach.

After being notified that their health information had been breached, four of the individuals submitted complaints to the OIPC. The OIPC also opened an offence investigation and submitted its findings to Crown prosecutors at Alberta Justice. Charges were laid in August 2018.

It is an offence under HIA to knowingly gain or attempt to gain access to health information in contravention of the Act (section 107(2)(b)).

This was the tenth conviction under HIA.