Privacy Policy

Privacy of personal information is an important principle to the Midwifery Collective of Essex County. We are committed to collecting, using and disclosing personal information responsibly and only to the extent necessary for the services we provide. We also try to be open and forthwith as to how we handle personal information. This document describes our privacy policies.

We collect, use and disclose personal information in order to serve our clients. The primary purpose for collecting personal information is to provide midwifery services to clients and their babies. We collect information about our clients’ health history, physical condition and function, and social situation in order to complete a needs assessment, and counselling regarding clients’ options.  As midwives we provide primary care from early pregnancy through to six weeks postpartum, and the information we collect allows us to provide ongoing health care through this period. A second primary purpose is to obtain a baseline of health and social information so that in providing ongoing health services, we can identify changes that are occurring over time.

 

Like most organizations, we also collect, use and disclose information for purposes related to or secondary to our primary purposes. Related purposes support the primary purpose for which the information is gathered. The most common examples of our related and secondary purposes are as follows:

  • Our clinic reviews client and other files for the purpose of ensuring that we provide high quality services, including assessing the performance of our staff. In addition, the College of Midwives of Ontario may conduct audits and continuing quality assessment reviews of our clinic/midwives, including reviewing client charts and interviewing our staff.

  • Midwifery Collective of Essex County is regulated by the College of Midwives of Ontario who may inspect our records and interview midwives/staff as part of their regulatory activities in the public interest. In addition, as professionals, we will report serious misconduct, incompetence or incapacity of other practitioners, whether they belong to other organizations or our own. 

  • Clients who receive services from Midwifery Collective of Essex County often return for subsequent pregnancies.  It is often helpful to access and review their previous course(s) of care in order for the midwife to have a better understanding of their obstetrical history.  Our regulatory College requires us to retain our client records for a minimum of ten years after the last contact with a client.

  • If the Midwifery Collective of Essex County practice were to be sold, or if new associates/partners were to join the practice, they would want to conduct a “due diligence” review of the clinic’s records to ensure that it is a viable business that has been honestly portrayed to the purchaser. This due diligence may involve some review of our accounting and service files. The purchaser would not be able to remove or record personal information.  Before being provided access to the files, the new associate/partner would be required to provide a written promise to keep all personal information confidential.

  • To advise clients and others of special events (e.g., open houses, baby reunions, retirement parties).

  • To inform our insurer of potential claims

  • To fulfill legal requirements with respect to reporting (e.g., misconduct, incompetence, child abuse, etc.)

  • To fulfill legal obligations to the Governments of Ontario and Canada (e.g., Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the Human Rights Commission, etc.)

  • If we provide care to you along with another Ontario midwifery practice, we would have to share information about you with that practice.

We understand the importance of protecting personal information. For that reason, we have taken the following steps:

  • Paper information is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area.

  • Electronic hardware is either under supervision or secured in a locked or restricted area at all times. In addition, passwords are used on computers. 

  • After your care is complete, the paper copy of your records is kept securely in our office for approximately one to two years.  After that period, the information is scanned onto an archival CD-ROM.  One CD-ROM is kept secure in our office and a back-up copy stored securely off-site.  This information is also accessible to Midwifery Collective of Essex County on a secure, password-protected web-based archive. The paper copy of your records is destroyed.  

The College of Midwives of Ontario requires midwives to store client files for 10 years after discharge from care (and 10 years after the age of majority for infants).  Once a year, such outdated files will be deleted from our electronic systems and the appropriate storage discs will be destroyed.