Guideline – Confidentiality of Patient Information


Physicians have an ethical and a legal obligation to maintain confidentiality over their patients’ information.

It is not possible to provide appropriate medical care to patients if patients withhold relevant information out of concern that the confidentiality will not be maintained. Any breach in confidentiality reduces the faith and trust of members of the public in the medical profession and in the confidentiality of health information.

Generally a physician cannot provide a patient’s health information to someone other than the patient without the patient’s consent. There are some circumstances in which physicians are permitted or required to disclose their patient’s health information to others without patient consent.

Purpose of this Guideline

 This guideline is intended to help physicians understand their legal and professional obligations to maintain patient confidentiality and to identify situations where patient confidentiality is not required.

This guideline cannot address every situation in which physicians will be required to determine their ethical and legal responsibilities relating to patient confidentiality.

Physicians who are uncertain about their obligations in a specific situation are encouraged to contact the College, Canadian Medical Protective Association, Saskatchewan Health Authority Privacy and Access Office Contacts or their legal counsel for advice. The Privacy Commissioner for Saskatchewan may also be able to assist in some circumstances.

For more information:  
Download the complete Guideline



Approved by Council:

November 2014


November 2019

To be reviewed:

November 2024