Posted on Nov 13, 2020
OPPOSITION JOINS CALL FOR SHANDRO TO WITHDRAW BILL THAT WEAKENS PRIVACY
EDMONTON - Alberta’s NDP Opposition has joined the Information and Privacy Commissioner in publicly calling on UCP Health Minister Tyler Shandro to pull back Bill 46 until her concerns over its harm to Albertans’ privacy can be addressed.
“While many jurisdictions around the world are introducing new or enhanced privacy laws to build public trust and ensure accountability mechanisms are in place to protect personal or health information, many of the proposed amendments to the Health Information Act are heading in the other direction,” said Commissioner Jill Clayton in a statement today.
“I am hopeful that the government will either make amendments to the bill or ideally pause deliberations to allow for further consultation on the implications these proposed amendments have for the protection of Albertans’ health information.”
Clayton wrote a nine-page letter to Shandro outlining her concerns with his bill, noting that she “was not provided with detailed rationales or context to help understand why amendments are proposed.” Shandro has falsely claimed that the commissioner’s office was consulted on Bill 46.
Clayton’s concerns included the use of Albertans’ private health information outside of Alberta, the use of private health information for purposes other than providing healthcare, and eliminating the need for the government to perform a privacy impact assessment under certain circumstances.
“We’re talking about Albertans’ most confidential and personal records,” said David Shepherd, NDP Official Opposition Critic for Health. “Albertans have a right to expect their personal health information will be held in the strictest confidence, and they defend that right fiercely. I am deeply concerned that Tyler Shandro is once again trampling on Albertans rights, as he did with his unconstitutional power grab in Bill 10.
“Tyler Shandro has repeatedly shown Albertans that he cannot be trusted to respect the boundaries of privacy, by demanding doctors’ personal phone numbers from AHS, publishing a pediatrician’s billing information on social media, and showing up at another doctor’s driveway at night to yell at him.
“It’s completely inappropriate for him to ask the legislature - including the UCP members - to debate this bill until the Information and Privacy Commissioner - and hundreds of other affected health care providers - have had time to review it thoroughly and have all of their concerns addressed. I call on Tyler Shandro to withdraw Bill 46 until that basic due diligence is done.”