So, last night we had Cambridge Council meeting for July 9th and I was there to observe on a few items. There were a number of contentious issues on the agenda, including the motion to have city staff supply information re: the water billing & collection process. While this should not have been a contentious issue, nor should it have had to be brought forward in a motion in order to get the info, what was most disturbing were the comments and qualifications for turning down the motion.
I was also at council to present on another item on the agenda. This item had to do with an agreement being signed between the city and CCAC (Community Care Access Centre). This is the agency which provides for the care one receives in your home or the community once you leave the hospital. Having had the need for their care during my chemotherapy and radiation treatments, it was of great interest to me. This agreement was for CCAC to provide private medical information to city staff for the city’s Community Support Services. On reading the agreement I noticed what I felt were flaws and missing information which I wished to bring to the attention of the legal department.
I posed a number of questions to city solicitor Steve Matheson on Thursday, 2 days after the General Committee meeting where the committee voted on the agreement. Having not received any info back, I on Friday placed myself on the agenda to speak to the issue. Still on Monday I had not heard back, so I presented to council my concerns for their consideration.
The mayor, the CAO & a number of councillors felt my questions were serious and legitimate and deserved to be looked at in greater detail. The solicitor felt that it was for a closed door meeting, but he had no trouble with the agreement as is. He further stated that he had not time to respond to me. Hmmm…… Thursday to Monday. Questions were simple and a no brainer.
I had asked for more definitions to be spelled out, one of which had to do with the city’s representative. I asked what their qualifications would be. I feel that there needs to be a minimum standard of qualifications listed in the agreement. The agreement speaks of theft, loss and unauthorized access to the info, and the need to prevent unauthorized parties from accessing the info. Clearly this all warrants more scrutiny, no? Under the heading in the agreement of “Authority to Share Data” it states, Sections 18 & 29 of the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) permits custodians (CCAC acknowledges itself as the custodian in a “whereas” of the agreement) to share this medical info based on implied consent. Under the same heading, it further states Section 37 of PHIPA, permits custodians ((the city is not listed in the document as a custodian) to share this info without consent. I asked for clear definitions of all terms in the document, but not listed under definitions for the sake of clarity and reducing the uneasiness of Cambridge’s citizens. Yet when push came to shove, my concerns lost by one vote.