I’m Kate Dewhirst.

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

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Category: Hospitals


Documenting Quality of Care and Risk Management Activities

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IPC decision 177 is a companion decision to IPC Decision 176. Both decisions centre around the shared records of two hospitals who provided care to a patient prior to his death by suicide. See the take-aways from Decision 166 here. The patient’s father filed a complaint with the IPC after reviewing an audit of his… Read more »


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 »



Updates to the Professional Staff Credentialing Toolkit

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In September 2021, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) release the second edition of its Professional Staff Credentialing Toolkit. There were 8 main updates: Changes to the Public Hospitals Act (“PHA”) The toolkit reflects the requirements of section 33 (mandatory reporting of physicians to the CPSO – see pages 43, 84, 95) and section 44 (ceasing… Read more »


Summary of Updates to the OMA/OHA Hospital Prototype for Board-Appointed Professional Staff By-Laws

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In September 2021, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) and Ontario Hospitals Association (OHA) released an updated version of their Prototype Board-Appointed Professional Staff Bylaws. Among the revisions are changes to the bylaw’s language and tone, updates regarding the requirements of medical leadership and updated obligations for professional staff with respect to disclosure and notice obligations…. 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 »



Guess Who? The obligation to disclose staff names in audit reporting

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Key takeaway message: When a patient asks for an audit of their health record, you must disclose the names of staff that appear those audit reports, even if those staff did not provide health care. If the disclosure of the name would result in economic harm or a serious threat to health or safety then… Read more »


Warning: If you go privacy rogue – your employer’s insurance company likely doesn’t have to protect you

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If you ever needed a reason to behave, this is as good a one as any. In a new Ontario court decision, a nurse was denied coverage from her former hospital employer’s insurance provider for her legal fees and possible costs associated with her alleged snooping in health records. So now, she walks into court… 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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