What is personal Information and personal health information?
Personal information is information about an identifiable individual that relates to his or her personal characteristics, health, or activities and views. Personal information, unlike business information, is protected by privacy legislation.
Personal health information means identifying information about an individual where the information relates to physical or mental health, health history, provision of care, payments or eligibility for care or coverage, and health number.
Who has access to my personal information?
The University of Waterloo (UW) Optometry Clinic includes our faculty optometrists, staff, and students who are trained and authorized to use your personal information. Other consultants and agencies such as computer consultants, accountants, lawyers, credit card companies, collection agencies, and university employees may, in the course of their duties, have limited access to your personal information. We have ensured that they follow appropriate privacy principles.
Various government agencies and regulatory bodies have the authority to review our files and interview our staff as a part of their mandates. In the course of performing their duties, they may have limited access to your personal information.
To provide you with some services, we may need to communicate some of your personal information to other regulated health practitioners, technicians, or laboratories. It would be rare for us to communicate your personal information without your implied consent, but this might occur in an emergency.
Why do you collect Personal Health Information?
The UW Optometry Clinic collects, uses and discloses personal information in order to provide eye care services to you, to support the administration of eye care services, to conduct research and collect statistics, to comply with legal and regulatory requirements and for teaching purposes.
How do you use Personal Information
- To provide you with appropriate eye care and advice on treatment options
- To provide ongoing eye care and identify changes over time
- To advise you that your eye care needs should be reviewed
- To invoice third parties such as OHIP and private insurance on your behalf
- To provide notice of special events or new services or products
- To comply with legal or regulatory requirements
- To train optometry undergraduate and graduate students (your identity is not revealed in these situations).
- To conduct clinical research (your identity is not revealed in these situations).
How we protect your personal information
The UW Optometry Clinic understands the importance of protecting your personal information. Some of the steps we have taken to protect it include:
- Employee training is provided
- Privacy agreements are established with outside suppliers, agencies, or consultants
- Information is under supervision or secured in a restricted area
- Paper information is transmitted through sealed, addressed envelopes
- Electronic information is transmitted through a direct line or is encrypted
- Paper information is destroyed by shredding
- Hardware containing electronic information is physically destroyed
How long do you retain my personal information?
We retain your personal information to provide ongoing eye care and to answer any questions you may have about services. By law, your records must be kept for a minimum of 10 years; in reality, your records are likely to be kept indefinitely.
Do I have access to my information?
You have the right to see your personal information. We will assist you in identifying what personal information we have and in understanding that information. You also have the right to ask for incorrect factual information to be corrected.
Can I revoke consent?
You have the right to withdraw consent at any time, except in specific instances where the law requires the information to be disclosed. We will discontinue the use or disclosure of your personal information after receiving your written revocation of your consent.
Please direct your inquiries to:
UW Privacy Officer
519-888-4567 extension 36101
Location: Needles Hall
Optometry Clinic Privacy Officer
Inta Bregzis, Policy & Development Officer
University of Waterloo, School of Optometry
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1
519-888-4567 extension 31106
Location: Optometry Clinic, Room 160
If you wish to make a formal complaint about our privacy practices, you may make it in writing to our Privacy Officer, who will acknowledge receipt of your complaint, ensure that it is investigated promptly, and provide you with a formal decision in writing.
For more general inquiries, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario oversees Ontario’s privacy legislation. The Commissioner’s office also assists Ontarians with complaints or privacy-related disputes. That office can be reached at: