7. The medical records of the beneficiaries in an institution shall be confidential. No person shall give or take verbal or written communication of them or otherwise have access to them, even for an inquiry, except with the express or implied consent of the beneficiary, or on the order of a court, or the coroner exercising his duties or in cases where an Act or regulation provides that such communication is necessary for its administration. The same shall apply to the records of beneficiaries receiving social services from an institution.
However, information contained in the record of a beneficiary may be communicated, in order to prevent an act of violence, including a suicide, without the consent of the beneficiary or an order of the court, where there is reasonable cause to believe that there is an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to the beneficiary, another person or an identifiable group of persons. The information may in such case be communicated to any person exposed to the danger or that person’s representative, and to any person who can come to that person’s aid. The information may be communicated only by a person or a person belonging to a class of persons authorized by the director of professional services or, failing such a director, by the executive director of the institution. The persons so authorized may only communicate such information as is necessary to achieve the purposes for which the information is communicated. The executive director of the institution must, by a directive, determine the terms and conditions according to which the information may be communicated. Every person authorized to communicate the information is required to comply with the directive.
In addition, the director of professional services of an institution or, failing such a director, the executive director may, notwithstanding subparagraph 5 of the second paragraph of section 59 of the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information (chapter A-2.1), authorize a professional to examine the record of a beneficiary for study, teaching or research purposes without the beneficiary’s consent. Before granting such authorization, the director must, however, ascertain that the criteria determined under section 125 of that Act are satisfied and, where the director is of the opinion that the professional’s project is not in compliance with generally accepted standards of ethics or scientific integrity, the director must refuse to grant the authorization. The authorization must be granted for a limited period and may be subject to conditions. It may be revoked at any time if the director has reason to believe that the authorized professional is violating the confidentiality of the information obtained or is not complying with the conditions imposed or with generally accepted standards of ethics or scientific integrity.
Consent to a request for access to a beneficiary’s record for study, teaching or research purposes must be in writing ; in addition, it must be free and enlightened and given for specific purposes. Otherwise, it is without effect. It is valid only for the time required for the attainment of the purposes for which it was granted or, in the case of a research project approved by an ethics committee, for the period determined, where that is the case, by the ethics committee.
At the request of a beneficiary, an institution must, in accordance with the regulations, send a copy or summary of, or an extract from, the beneficiary’s record as soon as practicable to another institution or to a professional. However, where the request of the beneficiary is made for study, teaching or research purposes, the institution may require consent in writing, and the provisions of the preceding paragraph apply.
Where an institution provides a person with nominative information of a medical or social nature concerning him contained in his record, it shall, upon the request of the beneficiary, provide him with the assistance of a professional qualified to help him understand the information.
An institution may refuse for the moment to give communication to a beneficiary of nominative information concerning him contained in his record where, in the opinion of his attending physician, it will likely be seriously prejudicial to his health. In such a case, the institution, on the recommendation of the attending physician, shall determine when the information may be communicated and shall inform the beneficiary.
A beneficiary to whom an institution refuses, for the moment, access to nominative information concerning him may, by way of a motion, apply to a judge of the Superior Court, of the Court of Québec, or to the Commission d’accès à l’information, for a review of the decision. He may also, within 60 days of the date on which the decision was notified to him, contest the decision before the Administrative Tribunal of Québec.
Notwithstanding section 83 of the Act respecting Access to documents held by public bodies and the Protection of personal information, no beneficiary has the right to be informed of the existence or to take communication of nominative information concerning him given by a third person which is contained in his record, where knowledge of the existence thereof or the communication thereof would make it possible to identify the third person, unless that person has agreed in writing to the disclosure of such information and the source thereof to the recipient.
The ninth paragraph does not apply where the nominative information was furnished by a health or social services professional or by a member of the staff of a health or social services institution.
1971, c. 48, s. 7; 1974, c. 42, s. 3; 1975, c. 61, s. 1; 1977, c. 48, s. 2; 1977, c. 20, s. 138; 1983, c. 41, s. 206; 1986, c. 57, s. 6; 1986, c. 95, s. 306; 1987, c. 68, s. 112; 1988, c. 21, s. 138; 1992, c. 21, s. 375; 1997, c. 43, s. 742; 1999, c. 45, s. 4; 2001, c. 78, s. 15.