Information for the Public

  • What is The Personal Health Information Act?

    • What rights do I have under PHIA?
    • Where are my medical records located and how can they be accessed?
  • Accessing Your Information

    • How can I obtain a copy of my information from Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living?
    • How long will it take to get my information?
    • Can I consent to have my personal health information shared with another person or organization?
  • Fees for Access

    • Search and preparation fees
    • Copying fees
    • Computer programming and data processing fees
    • Matter for which no fee is payable
    • Estimate of fees
    • Waiver of fees
  • Request a Correction

    • How can I request a correction to my information?
    • How long will it take for the Department to respond?
    • How will the department determine whether or not it will correct the information?
    • What happens if my request is approved?
    • What happens if my request is refused?
    • Is there a fee for requesting a correction to my information?
  • Record of User Activity

    • What is a record of user activity?
    • How can I obtain a record of user activity?

What is The Personal Health Information Act?

The Personal Health Information Act, otherwise known as “PHIA”, is a privacy law that establishes rules for trustees of personal health information. A trustee is a person or organization that collects and maintains personal health information, and can include health professionals, hospitals, personal care homes, medical clinics, ambulance services, laboratories and regional health authorities, as well as public bodies such as government departments, crown corporations and school divisions.

Trustees must follow the rules set out under PHIA when collecting, using, disclosing, maintaining and destroying personal health information. PHIA also requires trustees to protect personal health information by adopting reasonable administrative, technical and physical safeguards that ensure the confidentiality, security, accuracy and integrity of the information. In addition, PHIA sets out the rights of individuals when they are trying to get access to their personal health information.

What rights do I have under PHIA?

Under PHIA, you have the right to access your personal health information maintained by any trustee in Manitoba. This means that you have the right to:

  • see and get a copy of your personal health information with limited exceptions, no later than 30 days after your request is received,
  • request a correction to your personal health information,
  • name another person, such as a family member, to access your information on your behalf, and
  • expect that your personal health information will be protected in accordance with PHIA.
Where are my medical records located and how can they be accessed?

In Manitoba, there is no central location where all of an individual’s medical records are located. Records are generally maintained by the trustee that created the information.

If you are seeking to examine or receive a copy of medical records about care or treatment you received from a health care facility, including a hospital, public or private medical clinic, community health centre or personal care home, you must make your request for access directly to that facility.

^ back to top


Accessing Your Information

How can I obtain a copy of some or all of my personal health information collected and maintained by the department?

Requests for copies of personal health information collected and maintained by the department must be submitted directly to the department using the following form:

PHI Access Request Form PDF
Fax: 204-945-1020
Legislative Unit
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living
1051-300 Carlton Street, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3M9
Direct inquiries to (204) 788-6612

How long will it take to get my information?

Trustees are required by PHIA to respond to access requests as promptly as required in the circumstances but not later than:

  • 24 hours if the individual is an in-patient in a hospital and the information is about health care currently being provided (for examination only),
  • 72 hours if the individual is not an in-patient in a hospital and the information is about health care currently being provided, and
  • within 30 days in any other case, unless the request is transferred to another trustee.

Access requests submitted to any branch of Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living are normally responded to as promptly as required in the circumstances but not later than 30 days, unless the request is transferred to another trustee.

Can I consent to have my personal health information shared with another person or organization?

Any individual can provide authorization for the department to share (disclose) their personal health information to another person or organization by submitting the following form to the department:

Consent to Use or Disclose Personal Health Information Form PDF
Fax: 204-945-1020
Legislative Unit
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living
1051-300 Carlton Street, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3M9
Direct inquiries to (204) 788-6612

^ back to top


Fees for Access

The department is permitted under The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) to charge a reasonable fee for both permitting examination and providing a copy of personal health information. 

Search and preparation fees

Applicants are required to pay a search and preparation fee whenever it is estimated that search and preparation related to the application will take more than two hours.

The fee payable for search and preparation is $15.00 for each half-hour in excess of two hours. So for example, if the search and preparation took a total of 3 hours, the charge to the applicant would be $30.00 ($15.00 for each half hour more than the initial two hours that cannot be charged for).

When calculating search and preparation time, the department includes time spent in severing any relevant record, but does include time spent:

  • in connection with transferring an application to another public body,
  • preparing an estimate of fees,
  • reviewing any relevant record to determine if any of the exceptions to disclosure apply, before any severing of the record,
  • copying a record supplied to the applicant, or
  • preparing an explanation of a record.
Copying fees

An applicant who is given a copy of a record shall pay the following copying fees to the department:

  • 20 cents for each page for paper copies made by a photocopier or computer printer,
  • 50 cents for each page for paper copies made from a micro printer, and/or
  • the actual costs for any other method of providing copies.

An applicant requesting copies of his or her own personal health information is not required to pay a copying fee if the total copying fee payable is less than $10.

Computer programming and data processing fees

When the department needs to use computer programming or incurs data processing costs in responding to an application, the applicant shall pay:

  • $10.00 for each fifteen minutes of internal programming or data processing, or
  • the actual cost of external programming or data processing incurred by Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living.
Matters for which no fee is payable

No fee is payable by an applicant for:

  • making an application for access to a record,
  • using any file list, file plan or similar record used by the department to identify, locate or describe records, unless the applicant requires a copy, in which case 20 cents is payable for each page, or
  • regular mailing costs, other than special courier delivery which shall be charged to the applicant at actual cost.
Estimate of fees

The department will provide an applicant with an Estimate of Costs Form, when it reasonably considers that, in responding to the request:

  • search and preparation is likely to take longer than two hours, or
  • computer programming or data processing fees will be incurred.

After receiving the Estimate of Costs Form, an applicant who still wishes to proceed with the application will sign and return a copy of the form to the relevant branch along with payment of the estimated fees. The estimate of fees is binding, and if the actual cost of search and preparation or computer programming or data processing is less than the estimate, the department will refund the difference to the applicant. In addition, the department will refund the amount of estimated fees paid by an applicant if access to every record the applicant has requested is refused.

Waiver of fees

At the applicant's request, the department may waive all or part of the fees payable if the applicant can show that:

  • payment would impose an unreasonable financial hardship on the applicant,
  • the request for access relates to the applicant's own personal health information and waiving the fees would be reasonable and fair in the circumstances, or
  • the record relates to a matter of public interest concerning public health or safety or the environment.

^ back to top


Request a Correction

How can I request a correction to my information?

The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) provides you with the right to request a correction to your personal health information for the purposes of accuracy and completeness. Requests for correction of any of your personal health information maintained by the department must be submitted to the department using the following form:

PHI Correction Request Form PDF
Fax: 204-945-1020
Legislative Unit
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living
1051-300 Carlton Street, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3M9
Direct inquiries to (204) 788-6612

It is important to be aware that the department will generally only correct information that the department has created. If you are seeking to have information corrected that the department has collected from another organization, such as a service provider, you must contact that service provider.

How long will it take for the Department to respond?

The department must respond to a request for correction as soon as possible, but in any case, within 30 calendar days of receiving the request.

The department must respond to a request for correction in one of the following ways:

  • by making the correction and notifying the you that it has been made,
  • by informing you that the correction cannot be made because the information no longer exists or cannot be located,
  • by informing you that the department does not maintain the information and by providing him/her with the name and address (if known) of the person/trustee who does maintain the information, or
  • by informing you that the request for correction has been denied and following the steps outlined in the Refusing a Request for Correction section below.
How will the department determine whether or not it will correct the information?

When determining whether to make a correction, the department must consider the nature of the information in question.  When the department is notified that information it maintains is factually incorrect (such as an inaccurate birth date, gender or personal health identification number) the department will make the correction.  When the department is asked to make a correction to information compiled based on professional judgement (such as a clinical diagnosis or an opinion about an individual’s suitability or eligibility for a program), the department may or may not determine that the requested correction is appropriate. 

What happens if my request is approved?

If your request is approved, the department will:

  • add the new information to the original record so it will form part of the record, or
  • when adding the information is not possible, ensure that the original record is clearly cross-referenced with the corrected information.

If the information to be corrected was disclosed to another trustee or person during the preceding year, the department will, when possible, notify that trustee or person that a correction has been made.

What happens if my request is refused?

If the department determines that a correction will not be made, the department will:

  • permit you to file a concise statement of disagreement describing the requested correction and the reason for the request,
  • add the statement of disagreement to the record in such a way that it will be read and form part of the record or be adequately cross-referenced to it,
  • when possible, provide a copy of the statement of disagreement to any other trustee or person to whom the personal health information has been disclosed during the preceding year, and
  • inform you of your right to make a complaint to the Manitoba Ombudsman.
Is there a fee for requesting a correction to my information?

The department does not charge a fee for receiving, processing or responding to a request for correction to personal health information, whether or not the correction is made.  

^ back to top


Record of User Activity

What is a record of user activity?

The Personal Health Information Regulation made under PHIA requires health facilities, public bodies and other trustees to maintain a record of user activity for any electronic information system it uses to maintain personal health information, except where the system maintains only demographic or eligibility information, or where the system is considered a “legacy” system. This record of user activity should identify the following:

  • individuals whose personal health information has been accessed,
  • persons who accessed personal health information,
  • when personal health information was accessed,
  • the electronic information system or component of the system in which personal health information was accessed, or
  • whether personal health information that has been accessed has been disclosed (ONLY if the system has the capability to record this).

A record of user activity is a record of all accesses to an individual’s electronic record by any user of the system, such as departmental employees or employees of other health organizations that have access to provincial health information systems, such as health care facilities and pharmacies.

How can I obtain a record of user activity?

If you have a concern regarding who has accessed your personal health information in a health information system that has logging functionality and that is maintained by the department, you can obtain a record of user activity by submitting the following form:

Record of User Activity Request Form PDF
Fax: 204-945-1020
Legislative Unit
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living
1051-300 Carlton Street, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3M9
Direct inquiries to (204) 788-6612

^ back to top


Legislative Unit
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living

300 Carlton Street
Winnipeg MB  R3B 3M9
Phone:  204-788-6612
Fax:  204-945-1020
Email: PHIAinfo@gov.mb.ca