I’m Kate Dewhirst.

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

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New IPC guidelines for healthcare workers working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released a new access and privacy fact sheet aimed at helping organizations and their staff navigate the “new normal” called “Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic“.

In her related blog post, Commissioner Kosseim emphasizes that “it is essential that corporate policies and practices related to access, privacy, and security, be adapted, as needed, to ensure continued compliance when working from home.”

It is vital that healthcare organizations have a work from home policy; and if you already have one, you should review and update it as needed to reflect the current situation. Don’t assume that because you had a policy before the pandemic or adopted one at the start of the pandemic that it continues to adequately cover current risks to access, privacy, and security. The IPC is recommending that organizations create a long-term work-from-home strategy with accompanying polices, practices and remote training.

The Fact Sheet offers detailed advice in relation to:

  1. Communicating with your staff
  2. Remote access to networks and information
  3. Technological devices and related software (work-issued devices and personal devices)
  4. Communicating by email
  5. Home workspaces
  6. Paper and other formats of records
  7. Access to information rights

Need some help?

In the past few months a lot of healthcare organizations have struggled with going virtual and the privacy risks of working from home. I get a lot of questions about using Zoom or other video platforms for virtual health group activities, how to protect staff privacy when working from home, and how to address privacy issues in shared COVID-19 assessment clinics involving multiple community groups all sharing resources and electronic records.

So, I’ve reworked my team privacy training to address these issues and the perennial favourite questions everyone wants answered. The new interactive online 2-hr privacy webinar is designed to get healthcare organizations interested and engaged in privacy and to meet the IPC’s expectations for team training.

Interested in having me sparkle your people with team privacy training?  Please contact me.


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Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

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Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our December program will address harassment in the workplace.
Full details of the 2021 webinar series and registration here.

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.

Team Privacy Training Events
November 11, 12, 13, 18, 24, 25, 26, December 4 7

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...

Free Part X CYFSA privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the second Wednesday of every month

Free webinars - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experienced privacy designate 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.

Part X CYFSA Privacy Designate training
November 10 and 17

For Privacy Designates in the child welfare sector including children's aid societies and indigenous children's well-being centres

This course focuses on how to implement Part X of the Child Youth and Family Services Act in your organization.
Full details and registration here.

Health Privacy Officer training
April 2021

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...

Advanced Health Privacy Officer training
June 2021

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations - now totally online

This course focuses on taking theory into practice and we do real life scenarios to build your Privacy Officer skills.
Full details and registration 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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