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about integrated public health information system (iPHIS) data

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  • For each data source, information about data collection and analytical methods, limitations, the citation and additional resources can be found on the Data Sources and Methods page.

In Ontario, the integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS) is used for reporting all reportable communicable diseases for provincial and national surveillance, as mandated under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA). Each public health unit is responsible for collecting case information on reportable communicable diseases occurring within their boundaries and entering information into iPHIS.

Cases are classified in iPHIS according to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) case definitions. Effective April 28, 2009, the MOHLTC released updated case definitions as an appendix to the Infectious Disease Protocol, 2009 (2).


Original source: Peel Public Health
Cite as: integrated Public Health Information System (iPHIS), 2007-2018, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, extracted by Peel Public Health, May 8, 2019.


Data Collection Methods
  • The most common source of case identification is through laboratory notification of confirmed test results (serology, microbiology cultures, etc.). Under the authority of the HPPA, Ontario Regulations 559/91, designated communicable diseases or suspected occurrences of these diseases must be reported to the local Health Unit by physicians, laboratories, administrators of hospitals, schools and institutions.
Analysis Methods
  • Rates and proportions based on counts less than five (5) may be suppressed at the discretion of the health unit. iPHIS data are not subject to provincial suppression rules because it is the health unit that collects the information. A health unit may want to report, for example, that it had only one case of measles over the past 5 years, without providing any identifiable information.<.li>
  • Incident cases are age standardized using the 2011 Canadian population and using the direct method of standardization.


  • Comparison of trends for specific diseases before and after 2009 must be interpreted with caution due to changes in case definitions.
  • There may be considerable under-reporting of actual cases for some diseases in iPHIS. For instance, when an infected person has mild clinical symptoms they may not seek medical care and/or laboratory testing may not be performed.


  1. Ontario Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care, Public Health Division. iPHIS Manual. October 2015.
  2. Ontario Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care, Public Health Division. Infectious Disease Protocol. January 2018.
  3. Public Health Ontario. Factors Affecting Reportable Diseases in Ontario: Case Definition Changes and Associated Trends 1991-2016. October 2018.

Last updated: August 19, 2019

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