How to Make a Request for Information – Health Information Act

Under the Health Information Act (HIA), you may ask for access to your own personal health information which is in the custody or under the control of a health information custodian.

You may not need to use the Health Information Act to obtain the information you are seeking. There are many instances in which your health care provider will simply provide you with the information you are seeking. You may, therefore, wish to make an informal request before making a more formal request under the Health Information Act. If your informal request is not successful, make the same request formally, using the form * or simply by means of a letter which clearly states that the request is being made pursuant to the Health Information Act.

The Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) can only review the response to a formal Access to Information Request.

To make a formal request for access under the Act:

  • You must submit your access request directly to the health information custodian that you believe has custody or control of the records you are seeking.
  • Your access request under the HIA does not have to be in writing unless the health information custodian requires that it be in writing. Best practice would be to make the request in writing so that if you don’t receive the information you are requesting, you have a record of your request. It is also recommended that you retain a copy of your access request made under the HIA. There are forms available but these are not required to make a request.
  • You may ask for a copy of the record(s) or ask to examine the record(s). For various reasons, a health information custodian may not be able to allow you to examine the record(s), in which case you will be provided with either paper or electronic copies.
  • Your request must provide enough detail to enable the health information custodian to identify the information/records you are asking for.
  • It is also recommended that your request state that the request is made pursuant to the Act. This ensures that all parties are clear that this is a formal access request and that the IPC has authority to review any response or failure to respond to your access request.
  • There may be fees associated with a Request for Information if the request involves a significant number of records or records over an extended period of time.
  • You may ask the health information custodian to waive the fees. If your request is denied, you may ask the IPC to review that decision.
  • Generally speaking, health information custodians have 30 days to respond to your request. However, the time limits for response may be extended in certain circumstances. You may ask the IPC to review a failure to respond within the time frame or an extension taken by a public body.

For information on how to request a review from the Information and Privacy Commissioner, see “How to Request a Review under the Health Information Act”