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

Team Privacy Training Events
February 12, 19, 26, 27, Mar 2, 9, 11, 24, 27

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...

Speaking event March 25, 2020

Osgoode Professional Development – Health Law Certificate

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

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

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our March webinar is on questions to ask your insurer and the April program is on changes to pregnant employees' positions.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Health Privacy Officer training
April 28, 2020

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organisations.

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...

Osgoode Health Privacy 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...

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
March 4 (cancelled) but back April 1

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.

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

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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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