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: Health laws


There is no magic age when children make their own health privacy decisions

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This comes as a surprise to most lay people. In Ontario, and in many jurisdictions around the world, children make their own health privacy decisions when they are “capable” of doing so and not when they reach a specific age. What does that mean? Capacity is presumed. Meaning, healthcare providers presume everyone is capable to… Read more »


New IPC health privacy decision #76 – reasonable search at a doctor’s office

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The IPC just released decision #76. Bottom Line: There is no change to your duties as a health information custodian. This decision is entirely consistent with other decisions on the topic of reasonable search and a patient’s right of access to their records of personal health information.  In this case, a patient requested access to… 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 »


How should Ontario’s healthcare organizations prepare for new legislation?

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We have a new government in Ontario after 15 years of the same party in power.  You know what that means? Change. Hold on to your seats folks – we are going to see legislative changes in healthcare in Ontario. Any time of change can be tough.  But a time of change is upon us… Read more »


Health Law Collisions: Immigration Law

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  Health law is a discipline that focuses on the legal issues in health care, on representing the interests of recipients of health services or health care providers or the health sector and its businesses and goods and service providers, or government and its policy makers. What I love about health law is that the… Read more »


Police! Six concepts health leaders need to know when interacting with police

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I am often asked by health leaders what to do when police arrive and need information about patients. Police officers and police departments are important community partners for health care organizations. As citizens, we all rely on the police to protect us and enforce the laws.  It is vital to the success of all health… 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 »



Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events

September 17, September 24, 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: Contracts & Communications

September 5 and October 3, 2019, 12 noon

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our September webinar is about understanding contracts you may be asked to sign, and in Octber our title is Managing incapacity in the workplace.

Full details of the 2019 webinar series 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 ...

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...

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!

August 7 and September 4, 2019, 10-11am EST

Free webinars - 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

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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