The Narcotics Safety and Awareness Act, 2010 (“Act”) authorizes the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (“Minister”) and the Executive Officer of Ontario Public Drug Programs (“Executive Officer”) to collect, use and disclose information, including personal information, that relates to the prescribing and dispensing of narcotics and controlled substances (“monitored drugs”) in Ontario, for the purposes of the Act. The purposes of the Act are to:
Section 8 of the Act permits the Minister and the Executive Officer to direct a prescriber (e.g., doctor, dentist), a dispenser (e.g., pharmacist) or an operator of a pharmacy to disclose information about the monitored drugs they prescribe or dispense, to the Minister or the Executive Officer. For example, the Minister and the Executive Officer may direct the disclosure of information regarding:
In addition, if a person who has been prescribed a monitored drug authorizes someone else to pick up the drug from a dispenser, the Minister or the Executive Officer may direct a dispenser to disclose certain personal information about that person to the Minister or the Executive Officer (i.e. the person’s name and address, and the distinguishing number appearing on a form of identification that verifies the person’s name and address).
Once this information has been collected, the Minister and Executive Officer may only use or disclose it as permitted or required by the Act, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004. For example, subsection 5(5) of the Act permits the Minister and the Executive Officer to disclose personal information about a person who has been prescribed a monitored drug, to a prescriber, a dispenser or an operator of a pharmacy who has prescribed or dispensed such a drug to the person in the past.
The ministry’s Statement of Information Practices describes how and for what purposes the ministry may use and disclose personal health information in accordance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.
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