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Proactive on privacy

Re. การพนันบอล “Officials caught ‘snooping’ on health records, Nova Scotia privacy commissioner says” (Nov. 15 story).

NSHA takes its commitment to maintaining privacy very seriously and we are pleased to see that the privacy commissioner’s annual report has acknowledged this. It is essential that patients are able to trust their personal health information is protected. That is why, when our investigation into the breaches noted in this story was complete in July 2017, we not only contacted the people directly affected but also advised all Nova Scotians through a public statement and series of media interviews, along with proactively contacting the office of the Privacy Commissioner.

In an effort to meet our obligations under the Personal Health Information Act, NSHA’s privacy office conducts regular, monthly audits across the province to ensure confidential information is protected against unauthorized access, use, disclosure, copying, modification or disposal. Audits are a deterrent against privacy breaches and are done in addition to the ongoing training and education. 

It is important for people to know that NSHA impresses upon staff their responsibilities within the requirements of personal health information legislation and the importance to respect the confidentiality of private information. The failure of an employee to live up to those responsibilities can and does carry serious consequences.

We continually review and improve our systems, processes, privacy policies and confidentiality training for employees to reduce the likelihood of this type of incident from happening again. We’re pleased to continue to work with the Privacy Commissioner toward that goal.

Colin Stevenson, VP, quality and system performance, NSHA

Championing children

In your June 26 edition, you devoted half a page to the National Summit for Children in Ottawa, with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau in the picture. The article stated: “While Canada is the fifth most prosperous country in the world, the well-being of our country’s children ranks only 25th among 41 of the most affluent nations.” Some of the reasons for this were child poverty, dependence on food banks and the high number of suicides, particularly among our Indigenous youth.

There were two representatives from Nova Scotia. None of the child participants attending were alive when an unprecedented number of countries signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. In response, the Canadian government promised to eliminate child poverty by the year 2000. Today, nearly 20 per cent of Canadian children are living in poverty.

Other rights outlined in the UN document were intended to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Yet worldwide we still have child soldiers (20,000 in South Sudan alone), children into prostitution, young girls sold in forced marriages to men more than twice their age, children working in factories and mines. Those born in remote areas have no birth registration so are denied access to education and health care.

National Child Day is today. May the almost completed Canadian Children’s Charter make a significant difference in the lives of our needy children.

Mary Eden Bassett, Halifax

Vandalism mind-boggling

Please, could someone explain the mindset of those who wantonly damage, destroy or desecrate both private and public property?

Over the past year, I recall reading and seeing images of broken and toppled ancient gravestones, burned and destroyed new playground equipment, trampled vegetable and flower gardens, the sad and outrageous desecration of the Halifax Memorial in Point Pleasant Park (the Sailors’ Memorial) and now, the CCGS Corporal McLaren cut loose from her cradle and lying on her side in Sambro harbour. What drives people to do this? I am at a loss to understand.

Margo Pullen Sly, Halifax

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