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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Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events

April 15, May 3, June 7, 13, 20 & 25

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...

Speaking event

April 10, 2019

At Osgoode Hall

Kate speaks at the Osgoode Health Law Certificate workshop on privacy for health care organizations. More details...

Primary care webinars: Contracts & Communications

April 11 and May 2, 2019, 12 noon

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our April webinar is on employee contracts, and in May our title is communication faux pas.

Full details of the 2019 webinar series and registration here.

Privacy Officer training

April 30 through June 4, 2019

Kate’s specialist 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 for Privacy Officer training next spring here...

Advanced Privacy Officer training

June 18, 2019

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...

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!

April 3, 2019 12 noon - 1 pm and
May 1, 2019 9 - 10 am

Free webinar - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experience 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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