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: FHTs


Update: No cameras allowed inside health examination rooms

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) just released a new blog titled: “Cameras in Doctors’ Exam Rooms? Not in Ontario” and released Decision 98. In this decision, a media outlet notified the IPC that a cosmetic surgery clinic was using surveillance cameras in examination rooms. The clinic had 24 security cameras recording continuously… Read more »


Is an access-only parent entitled to their children’s health information?

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In a new Decision 96 of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC), a father who had access-only (not custody) of his children wanted a certain information from a health care provider. The health care provider refused to confirm or deny they had information about the children. The father complained to the IPC. The… Read more »


Missing Persons in Ontario – new police powers and the impact of the new law on healthcare providers

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On July 1st a new law came into effect: the Missing Persons Act, 2018. Healthcare organizations and providers need to know about this new law because there may be new documentation from police you will need to review. The police now have more powers when investigating missing persons in Ontario. Missing Person A “missing person”… Read more »


Does your organization need a “back-up” Privacy Officer?

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Yup – you do! I have heard from a lot of healthcare teams recently that they have been struggling with vacation, sick days, leaves of absence and unexpected departures from the Privacy Office.  When you rely on one person in your organization to deal with all the privacy issues, you can feel vulnerable when that… Read more »


How to respond to people behaving badly without making things worse

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I recently witnessed a dispute within my faith community. One congregant was accused of violent and highly inappropriate activity. The synagogue struggled to respond. Things escalated. People took sides. Positions became entrenched. There was a mixture of genuine concern, mythology, innuendo, hyperbole, valid issues to be addressed and unsubstantiated issues that needed to be cleared… Read more »


Don’t make these 3 mistakes when processing requests for access to health records – New IPC decision 93

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A patient wants a copy of their health record. You give them your organization’s form to fill out before you give them a copy. What are you allowed to ask on that form? If your questions are not all answered, are you allowed to  send back the access request as “incomplete”? That’s the subject of… Read more »


Digital hygiene saves lives! New IPC guidelines

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In healthcare we often repeat that “hand hygiene saves lives” – well so too does digital hygiene. What is digital hygiene? Digital hygiene is a term of art used in the technology and cyber security field to describe positive practices to protect digital information from loss, theft, and unauthorized use, disclosure, modification or destruction. How… Read more »




Ontario Health Teams Wave 1: Privacy and culture shift supports during your transition

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You and your community have signed up to be a Wave 1 Ontario Health Team. Does it feel like you are on a roller coaster? You signed up. You’ve strapped yourself into the seat. You’ve turned the first corner and you hear the “kk-chug”. You start the steep, jerky climb. up. up. up. You are… 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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Latest Tweets

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

about 21 hours ago

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

12:01 PM Oct 12th

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

12:01 PM Oct 11th

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Toronto Ontario M5V 3H5

(416) 855 9557

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