I’m Kate Dewhirst.

My team and I write about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada.

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

When you set the bar higher than the law requires – make sure you can meet your own standards! PHIPA Decision 168

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New decision of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario for health privacy. And it is a doozy! As background, it is important to know that our health privacy law, the Personal Health Information Protection Act, allows hospitals and other health information custodians to use identifiable health information without needing the consent of patients for… Read more »


Protecting Children is Paramount: Rights of Access under the Child, Youth and Family Services Act

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has released its first decision related to services provided under Ontario’s Child, Youth and Family Services Act (the “Act”). The decision relates to a request for access to records under Part X of the Act. Background: The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CAST) had two reports in its… Read more »



Feuding Parents and Privacy Requests: what to do when joint custodial parents disagree

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In Decision 160, the IPC reviewed a complaint from the father of two children (both under the age of eight) whose records request was partially denied by the hospital where the children received care. The records contained concerns about the father’s relationship with the children. The mother did not consent to the records being disclosed… Read more »


Guess Who? The obligation to disclose staff names in audit reporting

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Key takeaway message: When a patient asks for an audit of their health record, you must disclose the names of staff that appear those audit reports, even if those staff did not provide health care. If the disclosure of the name would result in economic harm or a serious threat to health or safety then… Read more »


Join our Team! Hiring an Office Magician

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OFFICE MAGICIAN POSITION We are excited to recruit an additional administrative member who is eager to showcase their ability to support, collaborate and grow within an entrepreneurial team. This is a shared position between Kate Dewhirst Health Law and Something Orange Training Inc. Salary will be negotiated depending on experience. This could be either a… Read more »


Warning: If you go privacy rogue – your employer’s insurance company likely doesn’t have to protect you

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If you ever needed a reason to behave, this is as good a one as any. In a new Ontario court decision, a nurse was denied coverage from her former hospital employer’s insurance provider for her legal fees and possible costs associated with her alleged snooping in health records. So now, she walks into court… Read more »


In case you were wondering, don’t use your ex-business partner’s ex-wife’s health information to learn about a new IT system

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Calling all clinicians, Privacy Officers, IT change management consultants and practice managers. Here’s a new case for you to read and absorb. Bierman v. Haidash 2021 from Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench So, imagine you work in a health care environment and you’ve got to learn a new IT system. Bummer right? You’ve got to… Read more »



Annual statistical reporting – clarification for 2021

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It’s that time of year again … annual statistical reporting to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. There has been some confusion this year. Let’s break down the rules … [Prefer to watch a video: I clarify on video here] Question 1: Do we have to complete an annual statistical report?  There was some… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the first Wednesday of every month

Free webinars - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experienced 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.

Health Privacy Officer Foundations training
April 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 25 2022

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations.

This course focuses on how to become a more confident privacy officer and gives you the tools to document your privacy program. Full details and registration here...

Join the Shush: a collective of health privacy officers
Annual membership 2022

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations

This is an annual membership program that takes theory into practice and tackles real life scenarios to build Privacy Officer skills.
Full details and registration here.

Primary care webinars: Employment Law Update & Legal Issues for EDs and Board members

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our February program will NEW TOPIC address mental health supports for leaders (with Christine Burych) and in March we discuss employment contracts.
Full details of the 2022 webinar series and registration here.

Team Privacy Training Events
January 13, 26, February 2

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies, Mental Health Teams, Public Health Units, School Boards, Police departments

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

Ontario Hospital Association Professional Staff Credentialing Toolkit

2nd Edition is now available for managing physicians, dentists, midwives and nurse practitioners in hospitals Read here...

Free summary of all PHIPA IPC decisions

Want to read privacy breach stories to learn how to improve your work? We have summarized all the Information and Privacy Commissioner's health privacy decisions for you Download 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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Latest Tweets

New decision of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario for health privacy. And it is a doozy!… https://t.co/HUrtQgoosq

about 5 hours ago

Join The Shush, my community for Privacy Officers in the healthcare sector. Develop knowledge, skills and judgment,… https://t.co/UUnuBt5TXt

about 9 hours ago

Years ago, I sat in coroner’s inquests and listened to testimony of health care workers after the tragic deaths of… https://t.co/Kt37qOAVcp

04:30 PM Jan 19th

contact details

P.O. Box 97010 Roncesvalles
Toronto Ontario M6R 3B3

(416) 855 9557

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