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Youth and Healthcare Rights

Did you know that in Ontario there is no minimum age that a person needs to be to consent to medical treatment?

The official term is Consent to Treatment, and this is determined by whether or not a clinician thinks that a client understands what’s going on and is capable of consenting to medical treatment or procedures, regardless of age. This means that, legally speaking, you technically don’t need your parent’s permission to go get an STI test, to get a prescription for birth control, to get an abortion, etc.

Now, we say “legally speaking” because we know that this doesn’t always reflect the reality of people’s lives – Not everyone has access to their health card, some people’s parents would flip out if they knew their kid was using The Pill, and some clinics *do* require parental consent if people are under 16.

Planned Parenthood Toronto [Link] is a youth-focused sexual health clinic (as well as being the organization that runs Teen Health Source). They see people between the ages of 13 – 29.  And since going to the doctor for sexual health stuff can be anxiety producing (especially if you’re under 18), the folks at PPT put together an info pamphlet called Youth and Healthcare Rights. This info pamphlet lays out what rights youth have coming to the clinic, discusses confidentiality, and gives folks a heads up on when they might have to disclose sensitive information. You can download the pamphlet here [PDF Link] or read below for more!

When you go to Planned Parenthood Toronto:

You have a right to:

At PPT you do NOT need:

Confidentiality at PPT

Your privacy is important. We take the following measures to ensure confidentiality:

Clinical Records

Disclosure Required by Law

There are times when we are required by law to share your information without your prior consent. These are:

This information is also found on the Health Services Client Agreement that you sign when you first register at PPT. We will remind you that you don’t have to tell a healthcare provider anything that you are uncomfortable sharing. You have the right to choose how much or how little you want to discuss.

Positive Test Results for a Reportable, Commmunicable Infection

Toronto Public Health (TPH) classifies some infections (including some STIs) as reportable, communicable infections. These include infections like gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV or hepatitis. If you test positive for one of these, the result is sent to TPH. You will be contacted by TPH if:

Abuse/Domestic Violence

Complaint Procedure

At PPT, you can make a complaint using a Client Complaint Reporting form that you can find in our clinical reception area or get from our front desk receptionist. You can also make a complaint by email, mail, in person or over the phone.

Additionally, the following agencies can be contacted if you have a complaint or concern about a service provider at any clinic:

Privacy Policy

If you believe that your privacy rights are not being respected, PPT has a privacy complaints procedure. You can find out about the procedure and file a complaint by contacting the Privacy Officer of PPT at or 416.961.0113 ext. 143

If you are not satisfied with any clinics response to your privacy complaint you may contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario:

If you have questions about this topic, feel free to contact one of our peer educators. [Link]

Last Updated: April 2020

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