I’m Kate Dewhirst.

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

Kate Dewhirst Health Law - bringing the law to life. Meet Kate (in 13 seconds)

Category: Employers


What are the 4 elements that make a healthcare team trustworthy?

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Trust. Trust is the foundation of healthcare. Without trust, patients delay receiving care. Without trust, patients do not share the truth that helps clinicians uncover what is actually happening. Where trust is compromised, patients, their families and caregivers feel vulnerable and unsafe. They go elsewhere or nowhere to seek help. I’ve been studying “trust” in… Read more »


It’s time to review your Leaves of Absence policies AGAIN Guest Blogger: Maria McDonald

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This blog was written by Maria McDonald from McDonald HR Law Bill 47 became law on November 21, 2018. It becomes effective on January 1, 2019. Bill 47 replaces or revises many of the changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) introduced last year by Bill 148. For all summary of all the changes… Read more »


Calling all health sector employers: Bill 47 Changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000

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This blog was written by Maria McDonald from McDonald HR Law Bill 47 became law on November 21, 2018. It becomes effective on January 1, 2019. Bill 47 replaces and revises many of the changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) introduced last year by Bill 148. I know you just finished making all the… Read more »


3 steps to influence organizational culture in health care

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What is culture? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization. As a health leader you influence your organizational culture both intentionally and unintentionally.  The impact is happening whether you mean for it happen or not. So, how do you intentionally and… Read more »


Did you know employment termination packages are subject to pre-approval by the Ministry? Guest Blogger: Maria McDonald

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Calling all family health teams in Ontario.  Here’s something you should know! This blog was written by Maria McDonald from McDonald HR Law Did you know that section 4.1 of the standard family health team (FHT) funding agreement with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) requires FHTs to obtain written pre-approval from… Read more »


Protect yourself and your healthcare organization! Review your employment contract template and termination release language (Guest Blogger: Maria McDonald)

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By Maria McDonald, McDonald HR Law You ask your lawyer to draft your health organization’s employment contract or termination release language because you want it done right. You want to limit your exposure for termination pay in an employment contract You want to ensure the termination release prevents the employee from raising any more legal… Read more »


Key issues hospitals need to manage when recruiting non-licensed MDs to non-medical positions

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Not everyone who trains as a physician practices medicine or continues to practice medicine. Some choose to work in a hospital environment but not as a physician such as in administration, research, information technology, finance, risk, law, policy, public relations, or interdisciplinary professional practice. Medical training can be an enormous advantage for a candidate applying… Read more »


New mandatory reporting requirement for NPs of unfit drivers

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As of July 1st, Nurse Practitioners (nurses in the extended class) in Ontario must now report certain conditions and impairments that could negatively impact an individual’s ability to drive. NPs join physicians and optometrists in this mandatory reporting duty. For all my family health teams, nurse practitioner-led clinics, community health centres, Aboriginal Health Access Centres,… Read more »


Watch departing employees – what happens if they have health records at home?

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Decision 69 of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario was just released. A former hospital employee (registered health professional who was employed as a Research Coordinator) removed 15 health records, 36 research files and 2 data collection sheets from the hospital’s premises without authorization. The hospital notified police – although the hospital did not… Read more »


Wow. I wasn’t expecting that! Managing volatile situations in health care

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Health care organizations of all shapes and sizes deal with volatile situations involving patients (or clients or residents) and family members or caregivers. Remember this case from last year of the woman at a health clinic who was yelling racist comments about wanting to see a “white doctor” and getting increasingly angry that only “brown doctors with… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events
October 16, October 24 and November 21

For Primary Care clinics, Children’s Aid and FHTs

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

Speaking event October 23, 2019

Osgoode Professional Development – Mental health Certificate

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

Primary care webinars: Managing Incapacity & Consent to Treatment

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our October webinar is about managing incapacity, and the November title is Consent to Treatment.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Advanced Privacy Officer training
December 10, 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...

Privacy Officer 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!
October 2, November 6 and December 4

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

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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The main message: A doctor (or any other health information custodian) should never ignore a patient’s access reque… https://t.co/HW8mrFymnC

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What happens when someone asks for access to recordings? It depends. Here’s a story about what might happen.… https://t.co/kRnDh5IOo2

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When you have an early warning system you don't hold all those reports until the end of the year. You look for proa… https://t.co/mz22nGp89F

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