What is the Personal Health Information Act?

The Newfoundland and Labrador Personal Health Information Act (PHIA) is a health-sector specific privacy law that establishes rules that custodians of personal health information must follow when collecting, using and disclosing individuals’ confidential personal health information. PHIA also sets out the rights of residents of the province regarding obtaining access to and exercising control of their personal health information.

PHIA was proclaimed into force on April 1st, 2011.

A copy of the Personal Health Information Act can be found at:

The regulations that have been enacted to support PHIA can be found at:

PHIA applies to "custodians" of personal health information. Custodians that have been designated under the Act include (but are not limited to):

  • Health care professionals (for example, physicians, pharmacists, nurses and dentists),
  • Eastern Health, Western Health, Central Health and Labrador-Grenfell Health,
  • Provincial government departments when engaged in health care activities,
  • The Public Health Laboratory,
  • The Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information, and
  • The Workplace Health and Safety Compensation Commission.

PHIA recognizes that people expect their health information to be kept confidential and that it should not be collected, used or disclosed for purposes not related to their care and treatment. Information is also sometimes needed to manage the health care system, for health research and other for other similar purposes. Law enforcement officials, health officials and others may also have a legitimate need to access personal health information, under limited and specific circumstances. PHIA balances an individual’s right to privacy with the legitimate needs of persons and organizations that provide health care services to collect, use and disclose his or her information.

An online education course developed by the Department of Health and Community Services can be accessed through the link below: