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Freedom for All But CAS
May 14, 2010 permalink
In 2004 Ontario's privacy commissioner Ann Cavoukian identified the three largest tax-funded organizations not covered by the Freedom of Information Act — universities, hospitals and children's aid societies. Universities were covered in 2006, now premier Dalton McGuinty is suggesting applying freedom of information to hospitals. Children's aid societies? Maybe next time.
Ontario hospitals may lose privacy
Ontario hospitals may soon be required to provide information about how they're run to the public.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said Wednesday he's taking a "good look" at including hospitals in the province's freedom of information laws.
McGuinty said there might be some real value in making the move to ensure that precious health-care dollars are well spent, "so that is something that we will seriously consider."
John Hinds of the Canadian Newspaper Association also supports the move.
"There's a demonstrated need to shine the light of public scrutiny into the dark corners of some of our institutions," he said.
Hinds said while journalists certainly want hospitals subject to freedom of information laws, the issue should also matter to the general public.
"Hospitals are very important to individual Ontarians — they want to know what's going on in their hospitals, they want to know what's going on in health — and I think transparency and accountability leads to better quality of care, more efficient care and more cost-effective care."
Last year's eHealth spending scandal came to light through freedom of information requests.
In its wake, McGuinty ordered the laws to apply to other health agencies, including Cancer Care Ontario, but he stopped short of extending it to hospitals.
Privacy and information commissioner Ann Cavoukian has long called for hospitals to be included in the legislation, along with universities and Children's Aid societies.
The Ontario Hospital Association has also asked that hospitals be made subject to the law.
Universities were included in Ontario's freedom of information laws in 2006, but children's aid societies were not.
McGuinty said he's not sure if he'd include children's aid societies in the legislation.