I’m Kate Dewhirst.

I’m a lawyer who writes about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada

Kate Dewhirst Health Law - bringing the law to life. Meet Kate (in 13 seconds)

Health Privacy Officers, you need to see the Privacy Commissioner’s new Process

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Hey Health Privacy Officers in Ontario – you need to know this! The Information and Privacy Commissioner just released new guidelines on its internal procedures for health privacy:  The Code of Procedure for Matters under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.  It was updated August 2019. Why does this matter to you as a… Read more »


Missing Persons in Ontario – new police powers and the impact of the new law on healthcare providers

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On July 1st a new law came into effect: the Missing Persons Act, 2018. Healthcare organizations and providers need to know about this new law because there may be new documentation from police you will need to review. The police now have more powers when investigating missing persons in Ontario. Missing Person A “missing person”… Read more »




Does your organization need a “back-up” Privacy Officer?

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Yup – you do! I have heard from a lot of healthcare teams recently that they have been struggling with vacation, sick days, leaves of absence and unexpected departures from the Privacy Office.  When you rely on one person in your organization to deal with all the privacy issues, you can feel vulnerable when that… Read more »


How to respond to people behaving badly without making things worse

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I recently witnessed a dispute within my faith community. One congregant was accused of violent and highly inappropriate activity. The synagogue struggled to respond. Things escalated. People took sides. Positions became entrenched. There was a mixture of genuine concern, mythology, innuendo, hyperbole, valid issues to be addressed and unsubstantiated issues that needed to be cleared… Read more »


Don’t make these 3 mistakes when processing requests for access to health records – New IPC decision 93

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A patient wants a copy of their health record. You give them your organization’s form to fill out before you give them a copy. What are you allowed to ask on that form? If your questions are not all answered, are you allowed to  send back the access request as “incomplete”? That’s the subject of… Read more »


Digital hygiene saves lives! New IPC guidelines

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In healthcare we often repeat that “hand hygiene saves lives” – well so too does digital hygiene. What is digital hygiene? Digital hygiene is a term of art used in the technology and cyber security field to describe positive practices to protect digital information from loss, theft, and unauthorized use, disclosure, modification or destruction. How… Read more »



Are paper health records dangerous?

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While we live in a highly digitized world, we still rely A LOT on paper in healthcare. As we move towards even more integrated care, the reliance on and existence of paper health records will be a challenge to overcome. From a privacy perspective, paper health records can be tricky to protect from loss, theft,… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events

September 17, September 24, October 16, October 24 and November 21

For Primary Care clinics, Children’s Aid and FHTs

Kate trains health professionals from many more primary care organizations how being privacy-respectful can improve therapeutic relationships. more details...

Speaking event

October 23, 2019

Osgoode Professional Development – Mental health Certificate

Kate joins the faculty for this training event. More details...

Primary care webinars: Contracts & Communications

September 5 and October 3, 2019, 12 noon

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our September webinar is about understanding contracts you may be asked to sign, and in Octber our title is Managing incapacity in the workplace.

Full details of the 2019 webinar series and registration here.

Privacy Officer training

January 20 & 27 and February 3,10 & 18, 2020

Kate is the program chair for the Osgoode Certificate in Privacy in Healthcare.

This program explores the range of privacy interests that must be protected in the day-to-day treatment of patients, the development of information systems and the creation of institutional policies.More details ...

Advanced Privacy Officer training

December 10, 2019

For experienced Privacy Officers within healthcare organisations.

This one day training course focuses on how to handle difficult privacy situations using real-life (but anonymized) case studies and role-play. Full details and registration here...

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!

August 7 and September 4, 2019, 10-11am EST

Free webinars - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experience privacy officer or new in the field, pick Kate’s brain for free for an hour, in this live webinar. No charge, but you’ll need to register in advance.

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

Kate says:

My mission is bringing the law to life. I make legal theory understandable, accessible and fun! I’m available and love to work for all organizations in the healthcare sector across Ontario and beyond.

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The Biggest Mistake Health Teams Make When Receiving Privacy Concerns. Claim your free privacy officer training vid… https://t.co/RKnmq5OdCU

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[Starts JAN 20] Globally, healthcare accounted for more privacy breaches than any other industry in 2018.… https://t.co/coT04cQ3E1

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Toronto Ontario M5V 3H5

(416) 855 9557

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