Medical Records: How to Get Access

Fuse / Thinkstock

Patients who want to see their medical records must show identification to the health care institution that has the records. Other people who want access to a patient's medical records (such as the parent of a child under 18, someone acting on behalf of a patient, an heir, or a family member) must also show identification. They must give a reason for the request and show how they are connected to the patient.

In a Public Health Care Institution

In a public health care institution, the request for access must be in writing and signed by the person who wants the information.

The request for access must be sent to the person in charge of protection of personal information at the institution.  This person's name and contact information are available from the institution or the Commission d'accès à l'information (access to information commission).

The institution is required to answer the request for access as soon as possible. 

If the request for access is refused, the person in charge of personal information for the institution must provide a written reason for the refusal and explain that a review of the refusal can be requested.

If the request for access is allowed, the patient or other person can consult the medical records for free. However the institution can charge reasonable fees for transcription, sending and copies of all or part of the record.

In a Private Clinic

In a private clinic, the same rules apply as in a public institution.   

The doctor has 30 days to answer a request for access to a medical record.

Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.