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The BC privacy commissioner is asking the FBI and the US Attorney General to clarify the implications of the US Patriot Act on Canadian information handled by American companies.

Under the Act, American security officials can access any information held by any corporation that operates in the US. The privacy commissioner is examining what this means when management of sensitive Canadian information such as patient records is contracted out to US corporations.

The inquiry follows a complaint by the BCGEU that the Campbell government is handing over responsibility for confidential records to American corporations. IBM and Maximus have been shortlisted to bid for administrative contracts for the BC Medical Service Plan and Pharmacare.

HEU has also filed a complaint with the commissioner after the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority announced plans to turn over hospital medical transcripts to a US company.

The commissioner has invited written comments from the public and interested parties. The deadline for comment is July 24.