I’m Kate Dewhirst.

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

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After death: who can access the records of a patient after death?

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released a new resource today for the general public called “Accessing Your Deceased Relative’s Personal Information“.

The resource first addresses rights of access to records held by government.

Then the IPC provides guidance to the public how to obtain health information from healthcare providers.

The IPC answers the following questions:

  1. What is personal health information and who holds it?
  2. Can I access my deceased relative’s personal health information?
  3. Who is the substitute decision-maker for a deceased individual?
  4. What if I am not the substitute decision-maker? Can I still obtain my deceased relative’s health information?
  5. What if the substitute decision-maker won’t give consent?
  6. What can I do if a custodian refuses to provide me with the personal health information?
  7. Where can I find the results of a death investigation?
  8. Where can I get the death certificate or a medical certificate of death?

This is an important resource for the public.

Healthcare organizations should ensure their team members are trained in how to direct family members to the right resources to better understand privacy issues after death.


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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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