A chicken farm should not be used to dispose of sensitive health documents, Saskatchewan's privacy and information commissioner says.

The matter came up in a report recently issued by commissioner Ron Kruzeniski concerning the Spruce Manor Special Care Home in Dalmeny, about 23 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

The privacy office had been investigating the home earlier in the year after some of the residents' health cards ended up in a recycling bin.

In the course of that investigation, it found that in May, the home had signed a deal with an undisclosed chicken farm to destroy its confidential records.

Spruce Manor Special Care Home

The Spruce Manor Special Care Home is in Dalmeny, Sask., about 23 kilometres north of Saskatoon. (Google Street View)

In the agreement, the farm said it would "agree to accept full responsibility to maintain the security and confidentiality of all documents" received from Spruce Manor Special Care Home.

That's "unacceptable," Kruzeniski said in his report, noting that the agreement does not specify how the chicken farm is to "maintain the security and confidentiality" of the personal health information it has received.

"I recommend that Spruce Manor Special Care Home no longer use [a] chicken farm to destroy records in spite of the former administrator asserting he had no problems/concerns with the use of the chicken farm," Kruzeniski said in the report.

It's not clear if any sensitive documents ever went to the farm. An administrator at Spruce Manor indicated the farm wasn't involved in destroying records.

The care home has ended its contract with the chicken farm and is looking for a certified company to do future document shredding.

From Privacy Commissioner's report: Excerpt from chicken farm contract

May 14, 2012

RE: SHREDDING OF CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS

I, [name of chicken farm owner/operator], on the behalf of [name of chicken farm], hereby agree to accept full responsibility to the maintain the security and confidentiality of all documents received from Spruce Manor Special Care Home, from the moment they are received and throughout the process of being transported, and/or stored in my/our care, and to ensure that all the documents are shredded in a timely manner and in such a manner that they are irretrievable.

[signature of chicken farm owner/operator] [name of chicken farm owner/operator]

Owner/Operator

[name of chicken farm]