1st Session, 37th Parliament,
49-50 Elizabeth II, 2001

House of Commons of Canada

BILL C-261

An Act to establish the rights of patients in relation to health, treatment and records


Whereas Canadians believe that the health care system has the highest priority among public services;

Whereas the objective of the Canadian health care system is to provide a universal, accessible, comprehensive and portable system in which patients have confidence;

Whereas major changes to the Canadian health care policy should be by legislation after public debate;

Whereas to establish a high level of confidence in the doctor-patient relationship, patients must be informed respecting their health options, treatment decisions and records;

And Whereas patients must be guaranteed rights respecting health information, involvement in treatment decisions and in access to and the confidentiality of their health records;

Now, Therefore Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short title

1. This Act may be cited as the Patients' Bill of Rights.


2. The definitions in this section apply in this Act.

``health professional''
« professionne l de la santé »

``health professional'' means an individual who is qualified to deliver a public health service.

``health record''
« dossier médical »

``health record'' means all records respecting a patient, in any form, that are generated or gathered during the provision of public health services to the patient.

« ministre »

``Minister'' means the Minister of Health.

« patient »

``patient'' means a person receiving a public health service, whether or not the person is in a hospital or other medical facility.

``public health service''
« service de santé »

``public health service'' means health advice, treatment, services or care in any form that is paid all or partly by public funds of Canada or a province, and the provision to a patient of prescription drugs, however paid for.

Rights respecting the public health system

3. All Canadians have the right to national collaboration between governments to assure

    (a) a good quality, dependable and accessible national system of health care;

    (b) a system of health care that is transferable and generally uniform across Canada;

    (c) the minimum amount of overlap and duplication in public health services between different governments;

    (d) consistency in development of public health services between different governments resulting in consistency in the timing of development of services and innovation; and

    (e) regular consultation with the public respecting public health services in a forum that is public, open and gives a reasonable opportunity to present views to representatives of government, the House of Commons or a legislative assembly and the medical profession.

Patients personal rights

4. All patients have the following personal rights:

    (a) the right to be fully informed as to their medical condition;

    (b) the right to be advised of the treatment options that are available to them;

    (c) the right to be involved in the decision as to which treatment to receive;

    (d) the right to information on the qualifications and experience of the health professionals from whom they receive services;

    (e) the right to receive considerate, compassionate and respectful public health services;

    (f) the right to communicate with health professionals in confidence;

    (g) the right to have access to all health records that relate to them, to have copies of such records and to have them corrected if they are shown to be incorrect;

    (h) the right to have their health records maintained in confidence and not used for any purpose other than the provision to them of public health services unless pursuant to informed and formal, written consent, which may not be implied or imputed;

    (i) the right to designate a person to exercise their rights on their behalf if they are not able to do so as a result of a physical or mental incapacity; and

    (j) the right to be informed of all rights and responsibilities they have under this Act and under other laws of Canada or a province with respect to public health services.

Patients personal responsibilitie s

5. All patients have the following responsibilities:

    (a) the responsibility to provide health professionals who are rendering public health services to them with full and accurate information relating to their health and the public health services they have received;

    (b) the responsibility to cooperate with health professionals who are rendering public health services to them and either to follow their reasonable instructions and advice respecting the public health services and behaviour that relates to health or to advise the professionals when they have not done so; and

    (c) the responsibility to exercise due economy in their use of public health services.

Agreements with provinces

6. (1) The Minister shall consult with the provinces with the objective of making an agreement with each province to protect the rights and promote the responsibilities described in sections 3 to 5.

Report to Parliament

(2) The Minister shall report to Parliament from time to time and no less than once a year on progress made with respect to the agreements made under subsection (1).

L.R. (1985), ch. F-8


7. Section 19 of the Federal Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (1):

Patients' rights

(1.1) In order that a province may qualify for the full cash contribution referred to in sections 14 and 15 for a fiscal year, the province must conclude with the Minister of Health an agreement relating to patients' rights pursuant to section 6 of the Patients' Bill of Rights.