An office assistant has been fined for snooping into two people's health records while she was an employee at an Edmonton medical clinic.

The woman admitted in provincial court last week that she looked at the data on numerous occasions without a valid reason.

She was fined a total of just over $4,000 and is no longer employed at the clinic.

In an interview with, Toronto health lawyer Lisa Corrente says the fine serves as a deterrent and includes a victim surcharge which helps fund victim services such as counselling.

"The woman accessed sensitive personal health information of the clinic's patients admittedly on numerous occasions without a valid reason," says Corrente, a partner with Torkin Manes LLP. "Whether the loss of her job was warranted depends on the circumstances. For instance, termination with cause may not be justified if the former employee was otherwise a good or long-term worker and was not properly trained on the clinic's policies."

She says medical clinics and health care professionals have a responsibility to safeguard the personal information of their patients.

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