Data Privacy Day
28 Jan 2022
Today is Data Privacy Day, an international campaign that aims to promote privacy and data protection best practices, increase awareness about the importance of privacy and safeguarding data and personal protective information, and enable trust. Many organizations across Ontario use this day to provide critical reminders of the importance of privacy rights, valuing and protecting personal information, and encourage adherence to best practices.
Privacy in a Pandemic
Many people have become more aware of data privacy during the COVID-19 pandemic as they see different types of information about people being used to help us understand important details about the pandemic such as how it transmits from person to person, how the infection impacts individuals, the broader community and critical services such as hospitals and other health care services. There are a variety of different sources of information that can be used to understand the pandemic and its impacts including: laboratory testing, vaccination status, contact tracing, hospitalizations, deaths and mobility.
Data that have been used during the pandemic are subject to provincial and federal privacy laws that contain requirements for privacy safeguards to be applied to Personal Information (PI) or Personal Health Information (PHI), and authorize certain organizations, including Public Health Ontario and public health units, to collect, use, and disclose components of individual PI/PHI for public health purposes. There is also detailed legislation that requires certain types of PI/PHI to be disclosed for public health purposes, including mandatory reporting when it comes to diseases of public health significance.
Understanding Privacy During COVID-19
The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) has created some resources to help people better understand privacy during the COVID-19 pandemic, including questions about:
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