Text size
Home / Patients & Visitors/ Patient Records & Privacy


At St. Mary’s General Hospital we are committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of patient health information. Our policies and procedures comply with provincial and federal legislation.

The patient health record is the property of the hospital, however, the information is accessible to you.

Patient Records

The time to get your test results varies depending on number of test completed each day. Typically, results take 5 to 7 days. Public Health and the St. Mary’s General Hospital Testing Clinic will call you if your result is positive or if you register without a health card.

To check your Covid-19 results:

  1. Click here and use your health card number.
  2. If you registered for testing with a health card and your results are not available after 5-7 days, please call your family doctor for results

Non-OHIP Patients: Please call 519-749-6436 for your results. This line is monitored Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

All Patients: To receive an official record of your COVID-19 test results:

Please send an email to releaseofinfo@smgh.ca including the following information:

  • Full legal name
  • Date of birth
  • Date of the COVID test
    And the following statement “I am aware of receiving personal health information via email is not secure and I accept the risk. I consent to receiving my records by email.”

Please note that:

  • SMGH Release of Information is not able expedite test results for any reasons including travel, medical procedures, visitations, requirements at long term or retirement homes.
  • SMGH can only release result for testing centre at 50 Bathurst Dr. Unit 1, Waterloo or done at SMGH Emergency Department or Inpatient units.
  • Due to volumes of requests, Release of Information will not accept requests over the phone.
  • SMGH Release of Information will attempt to send your Record of Results within 1-2 business days, but cannot guarantee a specific time frame.

Once the results are available, Release of Information will email the report to you in an attached password protection pdf file along with a follow-up email with the password.

Health information is retained for the period required by law. If you were an adult (18 years according to the legislation) at the time of treatment, the information is retained ten (10) years past the date of treatment. In the case of a child under the age of 18 years, the information will be retained for a period of twenty-eight (28) years. Radiology films are retained for five years. Films are not stored on site.

If you are a patient who would like to access your health information, contact your family doctor or our Patient Records (Release of Information) office. Your written direction/consent with a signature is required outlining the records you wish to obtain. If you are requesting records for another person, you will have to provide proof that you have the authority to act on behalf of that person.

If requests are for copies to be sent to Lawyers or Insurance Companies, the request should be made by your representative on your behalf with your written consent.

View Authorization Release Information Form


Fee Schedule:

A fee may apply. Please see fee schedule to see if a fee does apply for your request.

ROI Fee Schedule

Patient requests for records will be processed within 30 days of the request.

A fee may apply. Records will be forwarded at no charge to another health care provider (including Family Physicians). All other requests will have a charge of $30.00 for the first twenty pages and 25 cents per page for each page over the first twenty pages.

Letter for proof of birth, proof admission and discharge is $10.00.

HST will be added to all fees.

Fees must accompany requests for copies of a patient’s health information. Payment methods accepted are cash or cheque made payable to: St. Mary’s General Hospital

Policy and Waiver
COVID-19 Health Records Authorization For Disclosure of Patient Information

$41.00 fee for requests from lawyers must be prepaid prior to release of records. This fee includes $30.00 for the first 20 pages, courier fees & HST. Any additional fees for pages after the first 20 will be billed.

$187.80 fee for requests from insurance companies must be prepaid prior to release of records. This fee includes $160.00 for the first ten pages. Any additional fees for pages after the first ten & HST will be billed.

Hours of Release of Information Office:

By appointment only: Monday to Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.to 4:00 p.m.

Access to Release of Information Office:

You can either mail, fax, email or bring your signed consent to the Main Lobby of the Hospital and drop it off at Switchboard anytime.

The Release of Information Office will contact you by phone when the requested information is ready with pick-up instructions.

Due to high volume of requests, same day service is reserved for physician offices and hospital requests.

How to Contact the Health Records Department – Release of Information Office:

Release of Information Officer is available by appointment only.

Release Office: (519) 749-6436
Fax No: (519) 749-6568
Email: releaseofinfo@smgh.ca

Privacy Program

Why We Collect Your Personal Health Information

  • Provide you with the best possible care.
  • Receive payment from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
  • Raise funds for new equipment and research.
  • Meet reporting requirements.
  • Provide effective teaching.

How We Use Your Personal Health Information

  • Identify you and find your health record.
  • To help in providing you with the best quality care. This may include exchanging information with other health care facilities and health care providers involved in your treatment.
  • To meet legal and regulatory needs.
  • To support approved research projects

Implied Consent

When you seek health care from us, we assume that we have your permission to collect, use and share your personal health information among your health care providers.

We may also give your personal health information to your physician or other health care providers outside the hospital, in order to provide you with ongoing health care and follow-up.

Expressed Consent

In certain cases, we are not allowed to assume we have your permission to disclose your personal health information to others. Unless required by law, we will obtain your permission to disclose your personal health information to:

  • Third Parties who do not provide you with health care, such as lawyers, insurance companies, or your employer.
  • A health care provider for reasons other than providing you with care.

In some circumstances, you can tell us not to use or disclose some or all of your personal health information. If you choose to limit how we give out some or all of your personal health information, we are required to inform that the information is inaccurate or incomplete.

You should let hospital staff know if you do not want us to use or disclose some or all of your personal health information.

Accessing Your Own Record

To see your health record, or to request a copy of your health record, please contact our Health Records department. Under legislation, we have 30-days to fulfill these requests.

These are the circumstances under which we would disclose your personal health information:

  • A substitute decision-maker is making decisions on your behalf.
  • Required by law.
  • Required for billing, reporting statistics, and healthcare management purposes.
  • Requested by a Third Party, provided you have consented to do so.

We also disclose your personal information for:

  1. Patient Directory – your name, your location in the hospital and general health status
    To remove consent: Tell the registrar or nursing staff if you do not wish for this information to be given out.
  2. Fundraising – your name and mailing address
    To remove consent: Contact the Foundation at 519-749-4275 and tell them you do not wish to be contacted.
  3. Faith Community Affiliation – your name and your location in the hospital
    To remove consent: During registration, simply do not provide us with your faith community affiliation.
  4. Health Quality Surveys – your name, phone number and that you had a visit at the hospital
    To remove consent: Decline to participate in the survey.
  5. Research – your health information may be reviewed to determine eligibility to participate in an approved research project.
    To remove consent: Tell the registrar or nursing staff if you do not wish for this information to be reviewed.

Here are the ways that we at St. Mary’s General Hospital protect your personal health information:

  • Audits – regular checks to ensure access to your health record is appropriate.
  • Corrections – if you believe your information is not correct, let us know!
  • Investigations – action to address privacy practices and patient concerns.

St. Mary’s General Hospital (SMGH) understands and respects the importance and value that social media has for community engagement, professional development, and interaction with others but stress that moments must be captured responsibly.

Sensitivity and discretion ensure a safe and respectful environment for patients, visitors, and staff. Photographs or videos should not be taken when individuals who have not consented may be captured, even if just in the background.

Express consent must be obtained to avoid anyone’s privacy being placed at risk. If you do not have an individual’s consent to record or photograph them, please do not.

Please speak to a member of your care team or reach out to patientexperience@smgh.ca should you have any concerns with an individual's behaviour or your care.

Freedom of Information Office

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) gives individuals the right to access information under the control of government institutions. While previously applicable to municipalities and universities/colleges, the FIPPA was extended to include Hospitals effective January 1st, 2012.

Under the expanded legislation, any member of the public has a right to request access to any record within the custody and control of the hospital. It is important to note that the legislation balances a culture of openness and transparency with the need to ensure the privacy of individuals by protecting personal information.

FIPPA is different from the Personal Health Information Protection Act, which governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal health information. To make a request for personal health information (health records), please contact the Release of Information office.

St. Mary’s General Hospital is committed to being transparent and accountable to our community and stakeholders. We will make every effort possible to provide appropriate access to our records. In some cases, we will not be able to provide access to certain records, or parts of records, because the Act includes limited protections for information holdings. For example, St. Mary’s may be required to protect the rights of another person or organization.

Note that FIPPA does not apply to:

  • Records in the Hospital’s custody or control prior to January 1, 2007;
  • Foundation operations and donor records;
  • Labour relations and employment-related records leading to agreements;
  • Research and teaching materials;
  • Patient records/personal health information.


Communicating with your healthcare provider in a private and timely way is important to your care. Grand River Hospital (GRH) and St. Mary’s General Hospital (SMGH) will begin collecting patient emails to send you information. Email collection and use aims to provide efficient and timely communication regarding your care.  We will only collect and use your email with your permission. 

The hospital may use your email to send you:

  • A patient experience survey after your visit
  • Appointment reminders
  • Information to read before your appointment
  • Instructions on how to access your Health Record
  • Information and links for a virtual (online) appointment

Each time you come to the hospital, our registration personnel will ask you to confirm or update your email address. It is important that this information is accurate and up-to-date as this minimizes the risk associated with email delivery to the wrong recipient. At this time, we are not able to receive emails from patients.  Email from the hospital is a one-way communication channel. 

We respect your privacy and will ensure that written notes, electronic records, discussions with your healthcare provider, and emails from the hospital remain confidential and private. The hospital follows all laws and rules to keep your personal health information secure/safe. However, there are risks associated with communicating by email and we aim to minimize this by ensuring that we have an up-to-date email address provided by you. Most email providers also have encryption enabled as a default setting to ensure that your email is not intercepted by an unauthorized third party and this aids a secured communication between the Hospitals and yourself.  

We are providing you with information about these risks so that you can decide whether or not to permit us to use your email address.    

Risks of using email could include:  

  • Someone (other than you) could receive information if they have access to your email. This also includes emails stored in a ‘cloud environment’ (e.g., iCloud etc.).
  • Information could be sent to someone (other than you) if we don’t have the correct email address.
  • You may not receive or not see information sent from the hospital if the email is directed to your junk mail folder.

You are responsible for making sure that your email is safe and secure. You will only receive emails from the hospitals if you have permitted us to do so. Grand River and St. Mary's will not be responsible if a breach of information occurs.

You may cancel the permission and remove your email address at any time. This withdrawal of consent can be done by contacting the Health Information Management Office (HIM) or during your next visit to the hospital. If you have If you have questions about the privacy of the use of your email, please contact the Privacy Office:

  1. First – explore our website! Many different types of records are posted on our website – including information about quality of care and hospital expenses. A disclosure archive will also be developed in this section of our website, as we publish previously completed FOI requests. You may find that what you are looking for is already available.
  2. Are you a member of the media? St. Mary’s welcomes all media requests, and our Communications team would be happy to work with you to provide you with the information you need. To contact Communications, call 519-749-6578 ext. 1501.
  3. Understand our Directory of Records and Personal Information Bank. The Directory of Records identifies the types of Records the Hospital maintains, as well as the time period that the record is maintained for. The hospital’s Personal Information Bank outlines the personal information the organization keeps. To read St. Mary’s Record Management Policy, click here.

FOI Requests must be made in writing, using the Information Access Form.

Once complete, please mail the form, and the required application fee of $5.00 (in the form of a cheque payable to St. Mary’s General Hospital) to:

Freedom of Information Office
St. Mary’s General Hospital
911 Queen’s Blvd., Kitchener, ON
N2M 1B2

Electronic requests will not be accepted.

Additional Information

The $5.00 application fee only covers the initial request for information. Depending on the nature of your request, additional fees may be charged. See the fee schedule tab below.
When making a request, please be clear and identify the specific record(s) or personal information to which you seek access. It is also helpful if you can specify dates or a time period for the records/information you request. Keeping the scope of your request narrow and specific will enhance our ability to complete your request in a timely and appropriate manner.
St. Mary’s is committed to meeting the 30 day time limit within which organizations are expected to complete requests. However, depending on the nature of the request, it could be completed sooner than 30 days. Some requests may also require us to contact additional parties, and those requests may take longer than 30 days.
You may contact the Freedom of Information Office at 519-749-6578 ext. 1209.

Fees for a Request for Records
Photocopies and computer print outs $0.20 per page
Records provided on CD-ROMS $10.00 for each CD-ROM
Manually searching for a record $7.50 for each 15 minutes spent by any person
Preparing a record for disclosure, including severing a part of the record $7.50 for each 15 minutes spent by any person
Costs, including computer costs, incurred in locating, retrieving, processing and copying a record if those costs are specified in an invoice received by the Hospital Actual costs incurred


Fees for a Personal Information Request
Photocopies and computer print outs $0.20 per page
Records provided on CD-ROMS $10.00 for each CD-ROM
Developing a computer program or other method of producing a record from a machine readable record $15.00 for each 15 minutes spent by any person
Costs, including computer costs, incurred in locating, retrieving, processing and copying a record if those costs are specified in an invoice received by the Hospital Actual costs incurred