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SJHH / Patients & Visitors/ Privacy at St. Joe's

Privacy at St. Joe's

Privacy and Confidentiality

Your privacy is important to us at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH). To offer the best care possible, we need to collect and use information about you. Below you will find information about how we protect your information and how it is used to provide you with care.

Learn about privacy at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton

Protecting your privacy

We are committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of your information, and follow rules for how we collect, use and share your information set out in Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA).

We have safeguards (e.g., security, passwords, and policies) in place to make sure your information stays private. Only people who need to see your personal health information are allowed to look at it.


We assume you give consent to share your information with people involved in your care, and we will ask for your consent before we collect, use or share your information for any purpose other than our stated activities. You may also withhold or withdraw this consent at any time by contacting the SJHH Privacy Office.

Video surveillance

SJHH collects personal information through recorded images in our surveillance system, such as the security cameras at entrances and exits. The purpose of this collection is for safety and security operations in accordance with privacy provisions in FIPPA and MFIPPA. If you have questions or concerns about the use of video surveillance at SJHH, please reach out to our Security Team at 905-522-1155 extension 33280 or the Freedom of Information Office (FOI) at

Electronic Communication

Please see our Electronic Communications Patient Information Sheet for more information about communicating with SJHH via email and the risks.

How we use your information

Only staff who need to see your personal health information are allowed to access it. We assume you agree (consent) to share your information with healthcare providers and trainees involved in your care. We will ask for your consent before we collect, use or share your information for any reason other than our stated activities or those authorized by PHIPA or law.

You may withhold or withdraw your consent at any time by contacting the Privacy Office at or the Health Information Management Department at   

SJHH is also allowed to use your information for other reasons listed here:

  • To teach and educate - your information may be used to support our partnership with McMaster University and other schools.
  • To conduct research and compile statistics - researchers may use your health information while working on a study approved by the Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board (HiREB). We may also use your information to contact you about a study approved by the SJHH Access Research Program.
  • To improve the care we provide, by conducting quality improvement and risk management activities.
  • To obey laws and regulations or to fulfill other purposes permitted or required by law.
  • To plan, run, and manage programs, services and internal operations.
  • To obtain payment for your treatment (from OHIP, WSIB, your private insurer or others).

Processing your information and the use of vendors outside of Canada

We take steps to make sure that everyone who performs services for us protects your privacy and only uses your personal health information when necessary. While SJHH avoids processing or storing data outside of Canada as much as possible, some support services are provided by vendors subject to U.S. laws or in the U.S. In these situations, personal health information will be subject to the laws of another country which may be different, and less protective, than those of Canada. 

How we share your information

To support your care

We share your information with health-care providers who are involved in your care. This may include providers who do not work at SJHH. The information that is shared may include access to your electronic health record and/or use of electronic systems that are shared and accessible by health-care organizations outside of Ontario. These systems securely share electronic information to provide timely and coordinated patient care. The following shared systems are used to support patient care:

Epic Care Everywhere

  • SJHH is part of Epic's Care Everywhere, which allows health care professionals that are treating you to securely access your medical records at partner hospitals. If you do not wish for your information to be shared via Care Everywhere, please contact the Health Information Management department at or by phone at 905-522-1155 ext. 33417.

ClinicalConnect and ConnectingOntario

  • ConnectingOntario and ClinicalConnect are provincial Electronic Health Record viewers that provide health-care providers with access to your health information from SJHH. Access to the ConnectingOntario Clinical Viewer and ClinicalConnect Viewer are restricted to those who provide or assist with patient care.

Ontario Laboratory Information System (OLIS)

  • OLIS allows hospitals and community laboratories to share laboratory, cytology and pathology test results.

Digital Health Drug Repository (DHDR)

  • DHDR is an electronic repository of dispensed drug and pharmacy service information. DHDR data will improve patient care by allowing authorized providers secure electronic access to patient drug information.

To fundraise

The SJHH Foundation is dedicated to supporting SJHH by raising funds for research, education, and the improvement of patient care. Unless you tell us not to, we will give your name and mailing address to SJHH Foundation for fundraising.

To conduct patient satisfaction surveys

We want to hear from you about the quality of care and services you received at SJHH. We will use your name and address, and the dates of your visits to send you surveys. This information helps us improve the care we provide.

To inform your friends and family

Unless you ask us not to, we will provide general information about your health status to family or friends who ask. This includes the name of the clinical program caring for you (e.g. Mother Baby Unit), where your room is located, and your general health status, such as “stable” or “no change”.  Your consent is required to disclose any further information.

To adhere to the law

PHIPA requires and permits us to give some of your information to others, including but not limited to: 

  • The Ministry of Health 
  • Registries such as Institute for Clinical Evaluation Sciences and Canadian Institute for Health Research
  • Researchers, if approved by our Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board (HiREB)
  • The Medical Officer of Health to report communicable diseases 
  • The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
  • Law Enforcement Officers who present a warrant or subpoena, or to aid in an investigation 
  • The Children’s Aid Society where child harm is suspected; 
  • The Public Guardian and Trustee 
  • The Coroner
How to access your health information

You have the right to view and/or request access to your personal health information. Please contact the Health Information Management Department.

How to access other information

As of January 1, 2012, all hospitals in Ontario will be designated as institutions under Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). This legislation has two main purposes – access to information and protection of privacy. The Act applies to records in the custody or control of the Hospital. Upon request, certain records must be made available, subject to limited exemptions.

Please refer to the Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy page for further details and guidance on making a request.

Contact St. Joe's Hamilton’s Privacy Office

 Contact us if:

  • you do not want to receive our satisfaction survey
  • you do not want your contact information shared with the SJHH Foundation
  • you wish to withdraw or place “conditions” on your consent for how your information is used or shared
  • you have questions about our information practices
  • you have any privacy-related inquiries and/or complaints
  • you wish to request a correction to your personal health information, if it is incorrect
  • you wish to audit your electronic health record to determine who has accessed your information.

Contact Information:

Privacy Office
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
50 Charlton Avenue East
Hamilton, ON  L8N 4A6

Tel: 905-522-1155 ext. 35909


Contact the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

You can contact the Privacy Commissioner of Ontario if you think SJHH has violated your privacy rights. You can reach them at: 

2 Bloor Street East
Suite 1400
Toronto, ON  M4W 1A8

Tel: (416) 326-3333 or 1-800-387-0073