Privacy

Introduction

This Policy describes the privacy and confidentiality practices and commitments of the BC Centre for Disease Control (“BCCDC”) in the operation of the ImmunizeBC website (the “Site”), which is operated and maintained by the BCCDC.   ImmunizeBC consists of a collaborative of health representatives from throughout  British Columbia. For more information on ImmunizeBC, please consult the About  page.  The purpose of the Site is to provide a confidential and trustworthy source of information related to immunization and vaccine preventable diseases.  The Site provides education, links to local resources, access to Immunization health nurses, and referral to clinical and/or other professional health services, where necessary. 

ImmunizeBC is subject to the requirements of BC’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), which is legislation that governs the collection, use, disclosure, storage and disposal of “personal information” by public bodies in BC.  (“Personal information” is defined in FIPPA as any recorded information about an identifiable individual, excluding business contact information).   ImmunizeBC is committed to maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of the personal information that you provide on the Site in a manner that complies with FIPPA.  This Privacy Policy describes how we use and protect that information.

If you have any questions or concerns about this Policy or require any further information about the privacy practices of ImmunizeBC in connection with the Site, please email us at contact@bccdc.ca.

The Information We Collect and How We Use It

Some of the information and services offered on the ImmunizeBC site require you to provide information, as described throughout this Policy.  The information that we collect is used in a manner that is consistent with this Privacy Policy and the Terms of Use.  Please read both documents carefully.

Browsing the Site

The following is the only information collected when you browse the Site:

  • Your Internet Protocol (IP) address and browser-type.
  • The date and time of your visit.
  • The pages visited within the Site.
  • The address of the referrer website, if you have been referred to the Site by a search engine or other website.

This is standard information, collected by most websites.  We collect this information for statistical purposes and for evaluating and customizing ImmunizeBC to make it more useful to visitors. We do not link IP addresses with the identities of individuals visiting our site or any of the content posted.

If you use the Clinic Finder feature to search for a clinic by postal code or by city, the postal code or city will be sent to Google Maps. We do not link any of the information you provide through Google Maps to any content you provide on ImmunizeBC.

Submitting Content to the Site

We collect only the information required to provide services on the Site. Personal information will only be used for the specific purpose for which it was collected or for consistent purposes.  This information will not be used for other purposes or made available to others, except as listed in the section below entitled How Else May We Use  or Disclose Your Personal Information? 

The following information is collected for each of the services identified:

  • Ask a Question 

    • --Anonymously: You can submit a question to a nurse without providing any personally identifying information.  Your question will be posted anonymously, along with the answer, on ImmunizeBC.

    • --With notification: If you want to be notified when the answer to your question is posted, you will need to provide your email address.  Your email address will be deleted from      the system once the notification email is sent. Your question will be posted anonymously, along with the answer, on ImmunizeBC.

    • --Privately: If you do not want your question to be posted anonymously on ImmunizeBC, you can request that the nurse email the answer directly to you. You will need to provide your email address. Your email address will be kept confidential. 

  • Live Chat with a Nurse:  A temporary username is required to enter into a chat room with a nurse.  We strongly discourage the use of your real name or other potentially identifying information in your username. The username that you specify will expire at the end of your chat session, meaning that you can use the same name or a different name for your next chat session.
  • Text messaging:  By entering in your cell phone number on the Site along with a date of a future vaccination appointment, you can receive automated text message reminders to your mobile device. In addition, parents of infants can receive text reminders to make an appointment with their health care provider in advance of vaccination milstones at 2, 4, 6, 12, and 18 months by entering in their baby's date of birth. No other identifying information will be collected and phone numbers will be deleted after the appointment reminders have been completed. 
  • Contact Us Form:  If you have questions, comments or complaints about ImmunizeBC, you can send them anonymously using the form on the Contact Us page.  If you want to receive a response to your question or comment, you will need to provide your email address.  Your email address will be kept confidential.
  • User Surveys:  From time to time, the ImmunizeBC will post a user survey on the Site.  These surveys are for evaluation purposes only, to help us understand how we can improve the Site and the services that it provides.  If you respond to a survey, the information that you provide will only be used for analysis and reporting, and will be provided anonymously.  It will not be linked to you and cannot be used to identify you.  

How Else May We Use or Disclose Your Personal Information?

Information that you provide becomes a record subject to FIPPA and may be used and disclosed in accordance with that Act.

If we receive a complaint or identify an issue that needs to be investigated (such as a breach of the Terms of Use), we may use the information you provided to investigate the issue and/or resolve the complaint, if the information you provided is related to the issue or complaint.

From time to time, ImmunizeBC engages employees, representatives, agents or contractors to perform additional work on the Site, such as maintenance or an upgrade to the Site. Access to information about our users is never granted unless it is required to do the work, and in those cases, only the minimal amount of information is made available.  Any service providers or individuals who provide such work on the Site are required to provide written privacy protection and confidentiality undertakings, and owe legal obligations to maintain the privacy of all personal information .

We may disclose or share the information you provide if it is required for a law enforcement purpose, if it is subject to a Court order, or if the disclosure is otherwise required by law.  Disclosure of any acts that imply sexual abuse of a minor, or committing a sexual assault as well as harms to self or others, will be reported as per legal requirements.

Authority for the collection

ImmunizeBC is collecting information from you for the purpose of providing the information and services you are requesting on the Site. ImmunizeBC makes every effort to avoid any unnecessary collection of personal information, but some of our services, such as the Share-a-Story feature, may require you to provide information that may identify you (e.g., your image). 

The collection of any personal information you provide is permitted in accordance with section 26(c) of FIPPA, which allows ImmunizeBC to collect personal information for purposes related to and necessary for its operating programs and activities.

How We Protect Your Personal Information

The privacy and security of your personal information is of great importance to ImmunizeBC.  While the purpose of some applications on the Site, such as the Share-a-Story feature, is to share your story publicly with your explicit consent, we do protect the other information you provide, such as your email address and phone number by taking the measures described below.   We collect only the minimum amount of information required.  However, the Internet is not completely secure, as third parties may unlawfully intercept or access communications. While we are committed to protecting your personal information, we cannot guarantee its absolute security.

ImmunizeBC takes the following measures to protect your personal information:

  • For the protection of your privacy and the privacy of others, we strongly discourage you from including any personal information about yourself or others in any content that you post to the Site.
  • All BCCDC employees, representatives, agents and contractors must comply with Provincial Health Services Authority and BCCDC privacy and confidentiality requirements.
  • We use many methods (encryption, firewalls, restricted access to data, etc.) to protect your information against unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure or disposal.
  • We limit the number of BCCDC employees who can access the non-public information you provide on our site (e.g., email address, username, chat transcripts).  Only those employees with a need to know have access to this information.
  • Any information used for statistical, reporting, site evaluation and site improvement purposes is not linked with any information that could be used to identify you.
  • We will never sell or rent your personal information to third parties for marketing purposes.  We do not disclose, give or transfer any personal information about our website visitors, except as identified in this Privacy Policy and the Terms of Use.
  • We do not communicate with you by email except to respond to a question that you have asked.  We will never sell or provide your email address to other companies, entities or individuals.
  • All questions submitted using the Ask Us feature will be reviewed by a moderator and any identifying information will be removed before questions and answers are posted on the Site.
  • All stories submitted via the Share a Story feature will be reviewed by a moderator and any personal identifying information about the submitter or others will be removed before the story is posted on the site.  
  • Any new comments posted to the Site will be reviewed by the moderator within 3 business days (except on long weekends) to identify and delete any content that may identify individuals.
  • All phone numbers collected for the text reminder system will be deleted after the final reminder has been sent out to the user.  

Retention

You can modify or delete your account information at any time.  The record of your account is not saved anywhere outside of the Site.

Content that you submit to the Site (except for your account information) will be retained indefinitely.  This includes the following information:

  • Questions that you send to a nurse using the Ask A Question feature, 
  • Chat room conversations using the Chat feature,
  • Comments that you add using the Add A Comment feature.
  • Any comments or questions that you submit using the Contact Us form.
  • Any stories submitted to the Share a Story feature

We retain this information indefinitely to maintain the continuity of the information on the Site, to evaluate the use and value of the Site, and to retain a record of any advice provided by the nurses, as required by the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia.

When you are logged into your account, you can delete any comments that you have added to the Site.  Deleted comments will no longer display on the Site but a record of these comments will be retained indefinitely for the purposes explained above.

Email

The internet is not a fully secured method for communicating.  Information that is submitted over the Internet, including through a website or email, is subject to interception or incorrect routing. This means that if you send a message using the Contact Us page or another e-mail address published on ImmunizeBC, the information provided may be intercepted.  If you use the Ask Us feature and request that the nurse email you the answer directly, the email may also be intercepted.  Please consider this before submitting any information to ImmunizeBC.

ImmunizeBC is not responsible for any damages suffered by individuals as a result of the email transmission of information that is sent to or from ImmunizeBC.  ImmunizeBC is not responsible for any errors or changes made to information that is transmitted by email.

Cookies

Cookies are small amounts of information that a website places in a file associated with the web browser on your computer. Cookies are used by ImmunizeBC to collect non-personal information that allows the user to interact with the Site in an effective way and improves the usability of the Site.

ImmunizeBC uses temporary cookies (“session cookies”), which means that the information collected is temporary in nature and is deleted as soon as you close your browser. If you have signed up for an account on ImmunizeBC, you will be required to login every time.

In a rare instances ImmunizeBC may use persistent cookies to store information for longer periods than the current session.

Web Statisitics

ImmunizeBC uses Google Analytics, a web analytics service provided by Google, Inc. ("Google").

Google Analytics uses first-party cookies to track visitor interactions. The information generated by the cookie about your use of this website (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google on servers in the United States. Google will use this information for the purpose of evaluating your use of this website, compiling reports on website activity for the website operators and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage. Google may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law or where such third parties process the information on Google's behalf.

You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser - however please note that if you do this you may not be able to use the full functionality of this website.

ImmunizeBC uses IP masking within Google Analytics to anonymize personal information collected by Google. IP masking is a customization which removes the last octet of the visitor's IP address prior to its use and storage by Google.

Website visitors who do not want to be tracked by Google Analytics can download the Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on. The add-on communicates with the Google Analytics JavaScript (ga.js) to indicate that information about the website visit should not be sent to Google Analytics. The Google Analytics Opt-out Browser Add-on does not prevent information from being sent to the website itself or to other web analytics services.

For more information visit the Google Analytics Overview page

Accessing and Updating Your Personal Information

You can make changes to your account information or delete your account at any time.  You can also delete any comments that you have posted and they will no longer display on the Site.  A log of all comments will be retained indefinitely, stored on a secured Provincial Health Services Authority server. 

Links

ImmunizeBC contains links to other websites. ImmunizeBC is not responsible for the privacy practices of these websites. Please review the privacy policies for these sites and make sure that you agree with their policies before proceeding.

Changes to Our Privacy Policy

We periodically review our privacy policy and update it as necessary.  Any changes to the privacy policy will be summarized here, so please check this section for ongoing updates.

Tips For Protecting Your Privacy

  • Your email address and password are required to access your ImmunizeBC account.  Do not share your password with anyone.
  • The information that you post on ImmunizeBC in the form of questions or comments is publicly available to everyone using the internet. Do not post anything that you want to keep private.
  • When posting content to ImmunizeBC (e.g., questions, comments), do not include your name or someone else’s name and do not provide any other information that can be used to identify you or someone else. The exception is the Share-a-Story feature where we do require your full name but only your first name will be displayed.
  • Clear your browser history and cache after each use of the Site or use your browser’s anonymous browsing mode.
  • If you are concerned about your privacy when submitting your email address, use an email account with a name that is not linked to your real name or other information which could identify you.

Questions, concerns or complaints about the ImmunizeBC privacy practices should be submitted to contact@bccdc.ca.

Copyright © 2015. Provincial Health Services Authority. All Rights Reserved.

Last revision date: June 2015