Requesting Access to Medical Records


Patients who want to see their medical records must apply in writing to the health care institution that has the records. They must include proof of their identity. When another person (such as the parent of a child under 18, someone acting on behalf of a patient, an heir, or a family member) requests access to a patient’s medical records, they must also apply in writing and include proof of identity. In addition, however, they must provide 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 within 20 days of receveing it.   

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 person who requested access asks the institution to explain the reasons for refusal, the person in charge of personal information must help them understand.

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.