WINNIPEG -- Manitoba's ombudsman wants tougher penalties for people who snoop in private health records.

The call comes after a health worker at CancerCare Manitoba was caught going into the electronic patient file of a neighbour's child.

Ombudsman Mel Holley says the employee and the child's parent had a strained relationship, and the employee had no need to see the file for work purposes, but viewed it anyway.

Holley notes there is no penalty in the province for looking at a private record -- only for disclosing it -- which did not occur in this case.

He recommends Manitoba review privacy laws in other provinces where snooping on a file is banned.

Holley points to Alberta, where a medical records clerk was fined $10,000 for snooping in the cancer records of the wife of a man with whom the clerk was having an affair.