I’m Kate Dewhirst.

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

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Health Privacy Update: IPC issued new guidelines for disposing of electronic information

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released new guidelines today for disposing of electronic media.

These guidelines explain what it means to take “reasonable steps” to safeguard personal health information through secure destruction. The guidelines apply to all custodians under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.  That means you, health care providers and organizations of Ontario.

These guidelines specifically address disposing of electronic media such as:

  • magnetic media (such as hard drives, magnetic tapes)
  • electronic drives (such as solid-state drives, USB flash drives, memory cards)
  • mobile devices (such as smartphones, tablets)
  • optical discs (such as CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs)

Two-step Action Required:

There are two things you need to do …

Step 1: Who disposes of your electronic media now?  Is it a team member or vendor?  Is it you? Whoever it is, tell that person about these new guidelines. Send them an email with a link to the website.  Ask them to make sure they are disposing of your electronic media in accordance with these new rules.

Step 2: Pull out your privacy policies. Look at the section on “destruction” or “disposal”.  Make sure your policy maps to the IPC’s expectations of how you dispose of health information saved on these devices.

Calling all Privacy Officers …

If you are a Privacy Officer for a health care organization and you are looking for training to support you to become an even better Privacy Officer – join me starting May 8th. Read all about my Privacy Officer training program.

If you are advanced, consider joining me in November for my next Advanced Privacy Officer program.  To keep in touch, sign up for my newsletter: www.katedewhirst.com


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Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Health Privacy Officer training
September 22, 2020

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations - now totally online.

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...

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

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our September program is on privacy litigation and the October program will address harassment issues and scenarios.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the first Wednesday of every month (Off for the Summer - next up: September 2 and October 7)

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.

Free Part X CYFSA privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the second Wednesday of every month (next up: July 8 and August 12)

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.

Team Privacy Training Events
July 8, 23, 28 August 4, October 7, 8

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies and Children’s Aid

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

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

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