This FAQ answers some questions you may have about privacy, hepatitis C infection and the law.
As a general rule, people have a right to keep their health information private, including information about their hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection or disease.
If you do not answer questions truthfully—for example, if a person does not report the he or she has the hepatitis C virus—and the insurance company finds out, the insurance policy will be void and the insurance company may claim that fraud was committed.
Not all insurance policies require that you provide medical information in order to become insured.
However, people are encouraged to think about the benefits of disclosing to healthcare staff.
For example, it may be important for the healthcare provider to know about the hepatitis C infection in order to provide high-quality healthcare that will take into account the existing liver disease.
For example, doctors should not discriminate against a person, refuse them as a patient or end the healthcare provider-patient relationship because of a “disability.” However, a healthcare provider may not have the skills or knowledge to treat a patient effectively, so they may refer that patient to another care provider and must clearly communicate the reasons to the patient.
It is illegal for an employer or union to harass or discriminate against a person because of a “disability,” even if the only thing that limits the person’s ability to do the job is prejudice or stereotypes about the disability.You can seek legal advice from a lawyer, contact the human rights commission or tribunal in your province or territory, or contact the provincial or territorial college (the governing and licensing agency) of the professional in question.You can find more information at the Canadian Human Rights Commission. When you apply for various types of insurance coverage (including health insurance) you may be asked to provide personal health information so that the insurance company can determine whether you are eligible for insurance and how much it will cost to get insurance.Employers and unions cannot fire or treat a person negatively because he or she is infected with HCV or needs some time off because of symptoms of hepatitis C or side effects of hepatitis C treatment.If a person is sick because of the virus or medications used to treat HCV, the employer or union may need to make “accommodations” so that the employee can continue to do the essential duties of the job.But there are exceptions to these general rules, such as situations where there may be a legal duty for a person to disclose his or her HCV infection, or where someone else may have the legal power to disclose such information.Read the entire FAQ below, or click on a link to skip to a specific situation: Hepatitis C is a reportable disease.The database may include each person’s name, date of birth, gender, infection(s) and contact information.The type of information that gets reported to Public Health and stored in a database depends on the law and practice in that region.This means that when a person is diagnosed with HCV his or her name (and likely other information) is given to local, provincial or territorial Public Health.Public Health officials have a responsibility to monitor cases of infectious diseases, including hepatitis C.