You have a right to see the information in the record your doctor (or other health care provider) keeps about you. The information in the record is yours, although the records – the actual documents – belong to the provider and the law requires her to keep the records. In general, your doctor or other provider cannot refuse to let you see the information in your file, except if she believes that letting you see it might put you or somebody else at risk.

The simplest thing to do is simply to ask to see your records. Your provider will probably give you a chance to look at them without you having to make a formal request for access under the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA).  You should be given a copy if you ask for it. You may be asked to pay a fee for this service, which is allowed under the law. This is not paid by health insurance.

You may want to make your request more formally, so that, in case it becomes necessary, you can rely on all your rights under PIPA for information about these rights. In order to do that, you must make your request in writing.

In certain rare circumstances, your health care provider may refuse to let you see all of your medical record. This is because PIPA makes it unlawful to give you access to your personal information in three circumstances:

  1. if there is a health or safety risk in giving you the information;
  2. if doing so would reveal another individual’s personal information; or
  3. if giving access would reveal the identity of someone who gave an opinion about you and the opinion-giver has not consented to his or her identity being disclosed.

Your request for access should not be refused unless your provider believes that one of these circumstances applies. If that happens, and you can’t solve the problem with your doctor, try calling the Ethics Department of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC at 604.733.7758 in Vancouver and 1.800.461.3008 outside of Vancouver.

If the problem is not resolved, contact the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC by phone (Victoria) 250.387.5629 or email.

Outside of Victoria, call Enquiry BC and ask for the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. The number for Enquiry BC in the Lower Mainland is 604.660.2421, and from anywhere else in BC call 1.800.663.7867.