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News release
June 18, 2014

Ontario’s doctors support action taken by Ontario Privacy Commissioner

Toronto, ON, June 18, 2014 — The OMA supports recent action taken by Ontario Privacy Commissioner Dr. Ann Cavoukian to prevent the indiscriminate disclosure of attempted suicide information by the Toronto Police Service (TPS).

Mental health information is extremely sensitive in nature; widespread access to this information by the police and other authorities in the absence of a real and pressing threat to public safety may subject individuals to discrimination and stigmatize them further without cause. Ontario’s doctors believe that safeguarding patient personal health information is of the utmost importance. All threats of suicide or suicide attempts are not indicative of future harm to others and discretion should be exercised appropriately before entering this data into the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC). Although maintaining public safety is rightfully a prime objective for law enforcement, this must be balanced against the legal protection afforded to individuals by privacy legislation.

Dr. Ved Tandan
Ontario Medical Association