McInerney v. MacDonald, (1992) 126 N.B.R.(2d) 271 (SCC)

JudgeLa Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Stevenson and Iacobucci, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court of Canada
Case DateJune 11, 1992
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1992), 126 N.B.R.(2d) 271 (SCC);126 NBR (2d) 271;[1992] 2 SCR 138;1992 CanLII 57 (SCC);7 CPC (3d) 269;12 CCLT (2d) 225;[1992] SCJ No 57 (QL);[1992] ACS no 57;93 DLR (4th) 415;137 NR 35;317 APR 271

McInerney v. MacDonald (1992), 126 N.B.R.(2d) 271 (SCC);

    126 R.N.-B.(2e) 271; 317 A.P.R. 271

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

....................

Elizabeth A. McInerney (appellant) v. Margaret R. MacDonald (respondent)

(21899)

Indexed As: McInerney v. MacDonald

Supreme Court of Canada

La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Stevenson and Iacobucci, JJ.

June 11, 1992.

Summary:

A patient requested her doctor to provide copies of all documents in her medical file, including documents received from five other physicians who previously treated the patient and written opinions as to her health prepared by consultants. The doctor refused to produce copies of the documents originat­ing from the other physicians and consul­tants. The patient applied for an order di­recting production of all documents.

The New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench, Trial Division, allowed the applica­tion. The court ordered production of all documents comprising her medical record. The doctor appealed.

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal, Rice, J.A., dissenting, in a judgment reported 103 N.B.R.(2d) 423; 259 A.P.R. 423, dis­missed the appeal. The doctor appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal, for reasons different than expressed by the Court of Appeal. The court agreed with the result that all documents were to be disclosed to the patient.

Equity - Topic 3606

Fiduciary or confidential relationships - What constitutes a fiduciary relationship - [See Medicine - Topic 3005 ].

Medicine - Topic 3005

Relation with patient - Nature of - The Supreme Court of Canada agreed with the characterization of a doctor-patient rela­tionship as a fiduciary or trust relationship - The doctor had a duty to act with utmost good faith and loyalty and to hold infor­mation received from or about the patient in confidence - The fiduciary duty to provide access to medical records was grounded in the nature of the patient's interest in his or her records.

Medicine - Topic 3083

Relation with patient - Charts and records - Access to by patient - A patient's medi­cal file included documents prepared by her doctor, documents prepared by five other physicians who previously treated the patient and consultants' written opinions as to the patient's health - All documents were used by her doctor in effecting treat­ment - The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that the patient was entitled to inspect and copy all of the documents upon request - The patient had a prima facie right to access in equity, there was no evidence that access would be harmful to the patient or a third party and the doctor offered no other compelling reason to justify nondisclosure.

Medicine - Topic 3083

Relation with patient - Charts and records - Access to by patient - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that absent regula­tory legislation a patient was entitled to inspect and copy all information in the patient's medical file which the doctor considered in administering advice or treatment - The doctor's obligation to disclose was based in equity (fiduciary duty), not contract - The doctor owned the physical records, but held the information in a fashion akin to a trust - The doctor had a discretion to deny access, but only on proper principles and non-arbitrarily - The doctor had the onus of justifying non-access (e.g., disclosure harmful to patient or a third party) - The court stated that "[i]n the ordinary case, these records should be disclosed upon request of the patient unless there is a significant likeli­hood of a substantial adverse effect on the physical, mental or emotional health of the patient or harm to a third party".

Cases Noticed:

R. v. Dyment, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 417; 89 N.R. 249; 73 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 13; 229 A.P.R. 13; 45 C.C.C.(3d) 244, refd to. [para. 18].

Halls v. Mitchell, [1928] S.C.R. 125, refd to. [para. 18].

Kenny v. Lockwood, [1932] O.R. 141 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 19].

Henderson v. Johnston, [1956] O.R. 789, refd to. [para. 19].

Canson Enterprises Ltd. et al. v. Boughton & Co. et al., [1991] 3 S.C.R. 534; 131 N.R. 321, refd to. [para. 20].

Reibl v. Hughes, [1980] 2 S.C.R. 880; 33 N.R. 361, refd to. [para. 21].

Emmett v. Eastern Dispensary and Casual­ty Hospital (1967), 396 F. 2d 931 (D.C. Cir.), refd to. [para. 21].

Cannell v. Medical and Surgical Clinic (1974), 315 N.E. 2d 278 (Ill. App. Ct.), refd to. [para. 21].

Mitchell and St. Michael's Hospital, Re (1980), 112 D.L.R.(3d) 360 (Ont. H.C.), refd to. [para. 23].

Guerin v. Canada, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 335; 55 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 28].

Strazdins v. Orthopaedic & Arthritic Hos­pital Toronto (1978), 7 C.C.L.T. 117 (Ont. H.C.), refd to. [para. 32].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Beatty, H., The Consumer's Right of Access to Health Care Records (1986), 3:4 Just Cause 3, p. 3 [para. 36].

Canada, Report of the Task Force on Pri­vacy and Computers (1972), p. 14 [para. 18].

Ellis, M.V., Fiduciary Duties in Canada (1988), p. 10-1 [para. 19].

Emson, H.E., The Doctor and the Law: A Practical Guide for the Canadian Physi­cian (2nd Ed. 1989), p. 214 [para. 27].

Hopper, A., The Medical Man's Fiduciary Duty (1973), 7 Law Teacher 73, refd to. [para. 19].

Knoppers, B., Confidentiality and Accessi­bility of Medical Information: A Com­parative Analysis (1982), 12 R.D.U.S. 395, p. 431 [para. 27].

Krever Report - see Ontario, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Confi­dentiality of Health Information.

Meagher, A.J., P.J. Marr and R.A. Meagher, Doctors and Hospitals: Legal Duties (1991), pp. 2 [para. 19]; 289 [para. 23].

Miller, R.D., Problems in Hospital Law (4th Ed. 1983), pp. 276, 277 [para. 24].

Ontario, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Confidentiality of Health Information (1980), vol. 2, pp. 469 [para. 34]; 487 [para. 35].

Picard, Ellen I., Legal Liability of Doctors and Hospitals in Canada (2nd Ed. 1984), p. 3 [para. 19].

Rozovsky, L.E., and F.A. Rozovsky, The Canadian Law of Patient Records (1984), pp. 73-74 [para. 15].

Westin, A.F., Computers, Health Records and Citizen Rights (1976), p. 27 [para. 16].

Counsel:

Brian A. Crane, Q.C., and Wayne Brynaert, for the appellant;

J. George Byrne and Barry R. Morrison, for the respondent.

Solicitors of Record:

Gowling, Strathy & Henderson, Ottawa, Ontario, for the appellant;

Clark, Drummie & Company, Saint John, N.B., for the respondent.

This appeal was heard on February 5, 1992, before La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Stevenson and Iacobucci, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On June 11, 1992, La Forest, J., delivered the following judgment in both official languages for the Supreme Court of Canada.

Stevenson, J., did not participate in the judgment.

To continue reading

Request your trial
239 practice notes
  • R. v. O'Connor (H.P.), (1995) 191 N.R. 1 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • December 14, 1995
    ...229 A.P.R. 13; 45 C.C.C.(3d) 244; 10 M.V.R.(2d) 1; 66 C.R.(3d) 348; 55 D.L.R.(4th) 503, refd to. [para. 75]. McInerney v. MacDonald, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 138; 137 N.R. 35; 126 N.B.R.(2d) 271; 317 A.P.R. 271, refd to. [para. Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto and Manning, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 11......
  • R. v. O'Connor (H.P.), (1995) 68 B.C.A.C. 1 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • December 14, 1995
    ...229 A.P.R. 13; 45 C.C.C.(3d) 244; 10 M.V.R.(2d) 1; 66 C.R.(3d) 348; 55 D.L.R.(4th) 503, refd to. [para. 75]. McInerney v. MacDonald, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 138; 137 N.R. 35; 126 N.B.R.(2d) 271; 317 A.P.R. 271, refd to. [para. Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto and Manning, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 11......
  • Wewayakum Indian Band v. Canada and Wewayakai Indian Band, (2002) 297 N.R. 1 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • December 6, 2001
    ...Columbia (Minister of Forests) et al., [2000] B.C.T.C. 575; 191 D.L.R.(4th) 180 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 84]. McInerney v. MacDonald, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 138; 137 N.R. 35; 126 N.B.R.(2d) 271; 317 A.P.R. 271, refd to. [para. 92]. R. v. Neil (D.L.) (2002), 294 N.R. 201; 317 A.R. 73; 284 W.A.C. 73 ......
  • R. v. O'Connor, [1995] 4 SCR 411
    • Canada
    • Supreme Court (Canada)
    • December 14, 1995
    ...Southam Inc., [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145; R. v. Pohoretsky, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 945; R. v. Dyment, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 417; McInerney v. MacDonald, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 138; Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 1130; R. v. Morgentaler, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 30; Board of Regents of State Colleges......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
167 cases
  • R. v. O'Connor (H.P.), (1995) 191 N.R. 1 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • December 14, 1995
    ...229 A.P.R. 13; 45 C.C.C.(3d) 244; 10 M.V.R.(2d) 1; 66 C.R.(3d) 348; 55 D.L.R.(4th) 503, refd to. [para. 75]. McInerney v. MacDonald, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 138; 137 N.R. 35; 126 N.B.R.(2d) 271; 317 A.P.R. 271, refd to. [para. Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto and Manning, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 11......
  • R. v. O'Connor (H.P.), (1995) 68 B.C.A.C. 1 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • December 14, 1995
    ...229 A.P.R. 13; 45 C.C.C.(3d) 244; 10 M.V.R.(2d) 1; 66 C.R.(3d) 348; 55 D.L.R.(4th) 503, refd to. [para. 75]. McInerney v. MacDonald, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 138; 137 N.R. 35; 126 N.B.R.(2d) 271; 317 A.P.R. 271, refd to. [para. Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto and Manning, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 11......
  • Wewayakum Indian Band v. Canada and Wewayakai Indian Band, (2002) 297 N.R. 1 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • December 6, 2001
    ...Columbia (Minister of Forests) et al., [2000] B.C.T.C. 575; 191 D.L.R.(4th) 180 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 84]. McInerney v. MacDonald, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 138; 137 N.R. 35; 126 N.B.R.(2d) 271; 317 A.P.R. 271, refd to. [para. 92]. R. v. Neil (D.L.) (2002), 294 N.R. 201; 317 A.R. 73; 284 W.A.C. 73 ......
  • R. v. O'Connor, [1995] 4 SCR 411
    • Canada
    • Supreme Court (Canada)
    • December 14, 1995
    ...Southam Inc., [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145; R. v. Pohoretsky, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 945; R. v. Dyment, [1988] 2 S.C.R. 417; McInerney v. MacDonald, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 138; Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 1130; R. v. Morgentaler, [1988] 1 S.C.R. 30; Board of Regents of State Colleges......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 firm's commentaries
  • BLANEY’S APPEALS: ONTARIO COURT OF APPEAL SUMMARIES (MAY 13 – 17, 2019)
    • Canada
    • LexBlog Canada
    • May 17, 2019
    ...2017 SCC 20, Wynberg v Ontario (2006), 82 OR (3d) 561 (CA), leave to appeal to SCC refused, [2006] SCCA No 441, McInerney v MacDonald, [1992] 2 SCR 138, Norberg v Wynrib, [1992] 2 SCR 226 Krawczynski v. Ralph Culp and Associates Inc., 2019 ONCA 399 Keywords: Bankruptcy and Insolvency, Civil......
  • Court Of Appeal Summaries (July 25, 2022 ' July 29, 2022)
    • Canada
    • Mondaq Canada
    • August 2, 2022
    ...v The Queen, [1984] 2 SCR 335, (Attorney General) v Thouin, 2017 SCC 46, Kenny v Lockwood, [1932] OR 141 (CA), McInerney v MacDonald, [1992] 2 SCR 138, R v Sheppard, 2002 SCC 26, Champoux v Jefremova, 2021 ONCA 92, Lac Minerals Ltd v International Corona Resources Ltd, [1989] 2 SCR 574, Roy......
  • Passing The Buck: Payment Of Productions In Personal Injury Litigation
    • Canada
    • Mondaq Canada
    • April 26, 2022
    ...the Rules of Civil Procedure 4 Go right to Rule 30.01 of the Rules of Civil Procedure 5 McInerney v. MacDonald, 1992 CanLII 57 (SCC), [1992] 2 S.C.R. 138 at p. 154: "['?'] If the physician reasonably believes it is not in the patient's best interests to inspect his or her medical records, t......
  • Pharma In Brief - Overview Of Select Legal Issues Facing The Future Of Personalized Medicine
    • Canada
    • Mondaq Canada
    • September 30, 2014
    ...industry publication. Footnotes An Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services, (CQLR c S-4.2, s.7) 2 McInerney v. Macdonald, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 138. 3 Bill S-201, An Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination, 2nd Sess, 41st Parl, 2013, (first reading 17 October 4 In Canada, a ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
44 books & journal articles
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Computer Law. Second Edition
    • June 17, 2003
    ...661 724 computer law McGee v. International Life Insurance Co., 355 U.S. 220 (1957)...................... 652 McInerney v. MacDonald, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 138, [1992] S.C.J. No. 57 .............. 335 McRae’s Inc. v. Hussain, 105 F.Supp. 2d 594 (S.D. Miss. 2000) ........................ 666 Medfo......
  • Table of cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Law and Mental Disorder. A Comprehensive and Practical Approach Preliminary Sections
    • June 19, 2013
    ...685, 687, 691, 692, 700, 1034, 1038, 1058 McInerney v. MacDonald, [1992] 2 S.C.R. 138 ................................................................................................. 1015, 1025 McLoughlin v. Kutasy, [1979] 2 S.C.R. 311 ............................................................
  • Mi Casa Es Su Casa: Van Breda as the House Rule for Global Securities Class Actions in Ontario
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books The Canadian Class Action Review No. 11-1, October 2015
    • October 1, 2015
    ...and para 103; Wakeling v United States of America, 2014 SCC 72. 6 See R v Mills, [1999] 3 SCR 668 at para 108. 7 McInerney v MacDonald, [1992] 2 SCR 138 [McInerney]. 8 See ibid at 149. 9 See, for example, E-health (Personal Health Information Access and Protection of Privacy) Act, SBC 2008,......
  • The Rise of Personal Health Information Class Actions
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books The Canadian Class Action Review No. 11-1, October 2015
    • October 1, 2015
    ...and para 103; Wakeling v United States of America, 2014 SCC 72. 6 See R v Mills, [1999] 3 SCR 668 at para 108. 7 McInerney v MacDonald, [1992] 2 SCR 138 [McInerney]. 8 See ibid at 149. 9 See, for example, E-health (Personal Health Information Access and Protection of Privacy) Act, SBC 2008,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT