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Patient and family resources
Patient and family resources

Privacy of your information at SickKids

We will protect the privacy of all the information you give us

The information you give us about yourself and your family is important to our work at the hospital. It is important to your treatment and to any study you or your family may be taking part in. 

To provide the best care possible, we need to collect and use information about you and your family. 

We promise to make sure that all your information is kept private. This page explains why we collect information about you and your family, and how we use it.

To learn more about how the hospital protects the privacy of your information, call our Privacy Information Line at 416-813-7474, or e-mail us at privacy.office@sickkids.ca

How we collect and use your information

The hospital has rules, set out in a policy, about keeping your information private. This policy, called the Privacy Policy, is based on the law.

We collect personal health information about you directly from you, or the person responsible for making decisions for you.

We collect this information so that we can care for you. We also collect information for our records, as the law requires us to.

This information may include, for example, your name, date of birth, address, health history, and records of your visits to SickKids and the care that you received during those visits. Sometimes we collect personal health information about you from other sources if we have your consent or if the law permits.

Your information is given to your caregivers and to students who are part of your health-care team. This information helps us find out what your health problems are. It also helps us treat you.

Each time you visit the hospital, we collect information about you. For example, we collect the results of your tests and new treatments. Sometimes the information we collect may be used as part of a study to help us make children healthier. It may also help us improve the way we run the hospital, our teaching and the quality of care we give.

Sometimes, the hospital may use your name and address for other purposes. For example, we may send you a patient satisfaction survey and ask you to complete it to help us improve the care we offer. Or we may write you to help raise money for equipment, scientific studies, education and other programs.

Who can look at your information?

We give your information to only those people who need it for their work. We also give your information to those who have a right to it by law. 

These are the people who may see your information:

  • you, or the person responsible for making decisions for you
  • your caregivers, both inside and outside the hospital
  • students, interns, and others training at the hospital
  • staff doing approved studies who do not need specific information that identifies you as a patient
  • people working for health agencies such as the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that check on the hospital’s services, if the law requires it
  • people who have a contract to provide services to the hospital
  • other people, if you agree, or when the law requires or permits it

How we protect your information

We protect your information in these ways:

  1. We ask your permission before we collect, use, or show your or your family’s information to anyone for any purpose other than our main activities, such as providing care.
  2. If you agree to take part in a study, our Research Ethics Board has already approved the study and the use of patient or patient family information for the study. The Research Ethics Board is a group of people who make sure that all studies meet the highest standards for doing science properly.
  3. We make sure that your information stays private. Only the people who need to see your personal records are allowed to look at them. We also check regularly to make sure that no one, other than those who need to, has looked at your information.
  4. We take steps to make sure no one steals or loses your information. We also work to make sure no one copies, changes, uses, shares or discards your information unless it's allowed.
  5. We take steps to make sure that everyone who performs services for us protects your privacy and only uses your personal health information for the purposes you have agreed to.
  6. We keep your information correct and up-to-date. You can see the information we collect about you or your family.
  7. We keep your information only for as long as it is needed or required by law.
  8. We will look into any concerns you may have about how we keep your information private.
  9. We have someone in charge of looking after the privacy of information. That person can give you more information about how Sick Kids protects your privacy.

If you need more information or have concerns about privacy, please call the hospital’s Privacy Information Line at 416-813-7474 or e-mail us at privacy.office@sickkids.ca

Seeing and correcting your personal health information

You are allowed to see your own information and if you want to correct any of your own information, you can contact the Manager, Health Records

By phone at 416-813-6575, by fax at 416-813-5802, by e-mail at privacy.office@sickkids.ca or by mail at:

The Hospital for Sick Children,
555 University Ave.,
Toronto, ON
M5G 1X8.

You have the right to complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario if you think we have violated your rights.

The Commissioner can be reached by phone at 416-326-3948, by fax at 416-325-9195, by e-mail at commissioner@ipc.on.ca, by mail at
Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario,
2 Bloor Street East,
Suite 1400,
Toronto, ON
M4W 1A8

or through www.ipc.on.ca

Information about patient satisfaction surveys and raising money

Sometimes SickKids may use your information to write you or your family about

  • completing a patient satisfaction survey or
  • giving money and support to improve children’s health

Patient satisfaction surveys

Every month, we ask a small number of patients and families to complete a patient satisfaction survey after they leave the hospital. If we ask you to complete one of these surveys, this is what happens:

  • We use only your name and address, and the dates of your visits to send the surveys.
  • We use your answers to the survey to find out about the quality of the care and service you and your family got at the hospital. We use this information to improve the care we provide in the future.

Raising money

The SickKids Foundation raises money for the hospital. The Foundation may write you or your family when they are raising money to improve children’s health. If this happens,

  • we give only your or your parents’ or your guardian’s names and addresses to the Foundation.
  • the money you give to the Foundation will be used to improve children’s health. The money is used for medical equipment, scientific studies, education, and other programs.

The care you and your family get at the hospital will not be affected if you decide you do not want our satisfaction surveys or requests for money.

If you do not want us to use your information for certain purposes, such as sending you our satisfaction surveys or requests for money, please contact us. Give us your full name and Sick Kids patient number, date of birth, and a home phone number so we can call you in case we need to check the information.

How to contact us

Our privacy contact person is a staff member in the Quality and Risk Management Department. If you need more information or have a concern about privacy, please call the hospital's Privacy Information Line at 416-813-7474 or e-mail us at privacy.office@sickkids.ca

You may also send a fax to 416-813-6190 or write to:

Privacy Office
The Hospital for Sick Children
555 University Ave.
Toronto, ON
M5G 1X8

Also see:

  • Values and Expectations

© Copyright 2005 - 2008, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, Ontario. All rights reserved.