Additionally, investments in health IT have not focused on engaging
patients.154 According to one survey, Canadian provinces had focused their
public investments into infrastructure and interoperability, “which do not
have an obvious impact on everyday patient experiences,” over patient-focused conveniences such as making health information accessible to
patients and online prescribing and “scheduling appointments.”155 Further,
there are variations between the Canadian provinces on rates of adoption.156
While health ID adoption in all Canadian provinces and territories ranked
below the average of all industrialized countries surveyed, certain provincial
adoption rates ( i.e., Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan) ranked
close to the average.157 In contrast, the largest province of Ontario was behind
Unlike the United States but similar to other countries, Canada’s privacy
laws are of general application, not specific to health care or health data.159
First, the Canadian Privacy Act regulates public actors’ roles and
responsibilities in regards to personal information.160 Second, the Personal
Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) regulates
private actors’ ability to collect and utilize personal information.161
Additionally, Canada Health Infoway also plays a role in the regulation of
data through its role as a funder and a technical expert to “the provinces and
territories to foster and accelerate the development and adoption of pan-Canadian electronic health information systems.”162
155. Canada’s Healthcare IT, supra note 149, at 3; see also Allin, supra note 140140, at
23 (noting that among general practitioners, “only 6 percent reported that [their] patients can
request appointments online”); Harnessing the Potential of Mobile Health Apps , CBC NEWS
(June 27, 2016, 3: 33 PM), http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/m-health-1.3654795.
156. How Canada Compares, supra note 152, at 45; see also Canadian Physicians, supra
note 148148 (“Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario continue to have the highest adoption
rates in Canada. Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan experienced the highest increases in
EMR uptake by primary care physicians since 2012.”).
157. How Canada Compares, supra note 152, at 45.
159. See FURROW ET AL., supra note 110110 (discussing American regulation of health
privacy); see also Schick, supra note 111, at 178 (“In contrast [to American law], many foreign
data privacy regimes, including the laws reviewed in this section, are privacy laws of general
application, which apply to all personally identifiable information, including, but not limited
to, health-related data.”).
160. Privacy Act, R.S. C., 1985, c. P– 21 (Can.).
161. Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, S. C., 2000, c. 5
162. Rivkin-Haas, supra note 111, at 198 (“This comprehensive system will likely help
address some privacy issues resulting from electronic transmission of sensitive information by
creating a uniform approach to security and privacy expectations; but it may not adequately
safeguard secondary uses or aggregation of personal data.”).