June 16, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Modern Health Data Systems | Ottawa could force the provinces' hand

Modern Health Data Systems |  Ottawa could force the provinces' hand

(Ottawa) The federal government introduced a bill Thursday that, if passed, would “give provinces the power to force them to adopt a modern system that allows their residents to access their medical information in a way that is deemed convenient, complete and secure.”.


Legislative Exhibit C-72, presented in the House on Thursday by Health Minister Mark Holland, does not directly target provincial and territorial governments, but information technology (IT) companies that provide electronic management services data.

In explaining their mission, government officials repeatedly referred to establishing a pan-Canadian “safety net” for journalists.

The aim is also to facilitate the exchange of information between health professionals by sharing it without resorting to fax or other methods.

The standards force IT companies to ensure that the technology solutions they offer their clients are interoperable, meaning “they can talk to each other,” a spokesperson said.

An official pointed out that Quebec and Ontario are the only provinces that have passed data laws along the lines of C-72. A similar initiative is in the works in British Columbia, she said.

“This process will be done in close collaboration with the provinces and territories because our goal is not to harm the efforts that are already underway by the provinces and territories, especially, I can say first, the ones that are a little bit ahead. […] It is to complement their efforts,” she said.

C–72, as drafted, applies to any province or territory where the government does not implement “requirements substantially similar to or greater than those established under this Act.”

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Ottawa suggests proceeding by decree, if necessary. Government representatives stressed that this would only happen after a regulatory development process involving consultation with provinces and territories that have jurisdiction over health matters.

“It is certainly too early to announce who will or will not be exempt in which jurisdictions as the regulations have not been developed. It is the regulatory process that defines what is important,” we added.

Minister Hollande plans to answer reporters' questions from University Hospital in Toronto later Thursday.

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