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)

Nuanced privacy decision from IPC on access to deceased patient’s records

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There is a new health privacy decision 75 of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. Bottom line for health care organizations: If a client has died, you have to be careful about the release of health records to the estate trustees under the will.  If the will appoints multiple estate trustees (executors) – you… Read more »


New snooping case for health privacy – Decision 74 of the IPC released

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Decision 74 just released by the Information and Privacy Commissioner is another snooping case. My summary of all the IPC decisions is available here. A physician used a hospital’s electronic health record system to look at the records of a patient numerous times without authorization.  The physician was related to the patient by marriage and… Read more »


Protect yourself and your healthcare organization! Review your employment contract template and termination release language (Guest Blogger: Maria McDonald)

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By Maria McDonald, McDonald HR Law You ask your lawyer to draft your health organization’s employment contract or termination release language because you want it done right. You want to limit your exposure for termination pay in an employment contract You want to ensure the termination release prevents the employee from raising any more legal… Read more »




Lateral kindness and what healthcare organizations can learn from Indigenous communities (Guest Blogger: Steven Stechley)

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By Steven Stechley, McGill Global Health Scholar You know what kindness is… but what is lateral kindness? Lateral kindness is a term originating from the west coast that refers to non-hierarchical kindness within Indigenous communities. It is a concept that draws on Indigenous values which promote and celebrate positive things that take place within the… Read more »



Yikes! Want to know what a ransomware attack sounds like in healthcare?

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According to a CBC report published yesterday, a home medical services company was recently hacked and tens of thousands of health records for home care patients across Ontario were held for ransom. The home care company issued a public statement in June 2018 confirming that it had been the victim of a cyber attack. A group… Read more »


Key issues hospitals need to manage when recruiting non-licensed MDs to non-medical positions

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Not everyone who trains as a physician practices medicine or continues to practice medicine. Some choose to work in a hospital environment but not as a physician such as in administration, research, information technology, finance, risk, law, policy, public relations, or interdisciplinary professional practice. Medical training can be an enormous advantage for a candidate applying… Read more »


New mandatory reporting requirement for NPs of unfit drivers

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As of July 1st, Nurse Practitioners (nurses in the extended class) in Ontario must now report certain conditions and impairments that could negatively impact an individual’s ability to drive. NPs join physicians and optometrists in this mandatory reporting duty. For all my family health teams, nurse practitioner-led clinics, community health centres, Aboriginal Health Access Centres,… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events

June 6, June 12, June 19, August 30

For Primary Care clinics and FHTs

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

Primary care webinar: “I'm being harassed!”

September 6, 2018, 12 noon

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Kate and lawyer Maria McDonald discuss how to deal with harassment and harassment claims in the workplace.

Full details and registration here.

Privacy Officer training

October 2 through November 6, 2018

Kate’s next training course for Privacy Officers in health organizations.

Open to all health Privacy Officers, as well as those hoping to become Privacy Officers. Full details and registration here.

Advanced Privacy Officer training

November 13, 2018

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.

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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