Medicentres data breach spurs changes to privacy laws
The theft of a laptop containing the private health information of 620,000 Alberta Medicentres patients last year has prompted the Alberta government to propose changes to its privacy legislation.
Amendments to the Health Information Act will ensure that people affected by breaches of their private health information will be immediately notified, Health minister Fred Horne said Wednesday.
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The laptop went missing in September 2013 but the province wasn't notified of the theft until January.
Horne was upset that Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton knew of the breach for months but did not contact him or the people involved.
However, Clayton said that the current legislation prohibited her from taking those actions.
“The Medicentres incident was the single biggest incident that I've encountered and I think it’s the biggest in Alberta history so there's no doubt that it brought a lot of focus to the issue,” Horne said.
“I think what compounded it was the fact that several months went by before the issue even came to light.”
Clayton's office issued a statement Wednesday that supports the amendments with a few minor changes.
NDP house leader Rachel Notley says the health information changes and a number of other amendments are contained in an omnibus bill.
She says there hasn't been enough time to review all the proposals so she plans to introduce a motion to delay debate until the fall session of the Alberta legislature. However, the motion isn't likely to pass.