I’m Kate Dewhirst.

My team and I write about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada.

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Category: Health laws


How much is enough: meeting the threshold for the tort of intrusion upon seclusion

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On March 24, 2022, the Ontario Divisional Court released its decision in Stewart v Demme (2022 ONSC 1790), a class action case against William Osler Health System and one of its ex-nurses (Demme). The case deals with the tort of intrusion upon seclusion, which is a claim that can be advanced by individuals affected by… Read more »


PHIPA being changed to acknowledge Ontario Health Teams!!!

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Oh happy day! I’ll admit, I have been moping around for awhile. All the usual reasons why – but I’ve been moping. TODAY I WAS EXCITED! Our Personal Health Information Protection Act is going to be amended to acknowledge the role of Ontario Health Teams. See Schedule 4 of Bill 106 or read on! Ontario… Read more »


When you set the bar higher than the law requires – make sure you can meet your own standards! PHIPA Decision 168

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New decision of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario for health privacy. And it is a doozy! As background, it is important to know that our health privacy law, the Personal Health Information Protection Act, allows hospitals and other health information custodians to use identifiable health information without needing the consent of patients for… Read more »


Ontario considers new private sector privacy legislation – what does that mean for healthcare?

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You may have heard that the Ontario government is consulting on new privacy legislation for the private sector. Here’s the announcement. And here’s the link to the survey where you can share your views. Deadline for feedback is October 1, 2020. The purpose is to give Ontarians more confidence when dealing in the digital world…. Read more »


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 »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

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.

Health Privacy Officer Foundations training
April 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 25 2022 Coming Soon: Fall 2022 Next Program

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations.

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...

Join the Shush: a collective of health privacy officers
Annual membership 2022

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations

This is an annual membership program that takes theory into practice and tackles real life scenarios to build Privacy Officer skills.
Full details and registration here.

Primary care webinars: Employment Law Update & Legal Issues for EDs and Board members

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our May program will address progressive discipline and in June we discuss the key responsibilities Boards need to know in primary care.
Full details of the 2022 webinar series and registration here.

Team Privacy Training Events
May 2, 9, 26, 27

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies, Mental Health Teams, Public Health Units, School Boards, Police departments

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

Ontario Hospital Association Professional Staff Credentialing Toolkit

2nd Edition is now available for managing physicians, dentists, midwives and nurse practitioners in hospitals Read here...

Free summary of all PHIPA IPC decisions

Want to read privacy breach stories to learn how to improve your work? We have summarized all the Information and Privacy Commissioner's health privacy decisions for you Download 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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