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: Long-term care


What health care organizations need to know about recent changes to Ontario’s health privacy law

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If you’ve been focused on COVID-19 response and transitioning to virtual care over the last few months, you may have missed that there have been some big changes to Ontario’s health privacy law, the Personal Health Information Protection Act. What did you miss?? Here’s a recap of Bill 188, Bill 138, and two sets of… Read more »


5 New PHIPA IPC decisions … time to catch up

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There have been some interesting health privacy decisions out of the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s Office in the last few months. Here’s a recap: Decisions 119 and 121 – May and June 2020 Key Take Away Message: When there is a dispute over whether a health care organization has completed a “reasonable search”, the organization… Read more »


The crisis phase is over – the emergency continues – how should health leaders move forward?

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I have noticed over the last month that the tone of conversations has changed and social critique has resurfaced. Individuals are rightly asking more questions. There is greater need in all aspects of life and public service for clarity and certainty.  There are more queries and complaints about the impact of decisions made in the… Read more »




Health Privacy Update: New class action certified in Ontario after privacy breach at a hospital

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Just when you thought it was safe … a new class action was recently certified after a health privacy breach at a hospital in Ontario. Here’s what every health Privacy Officer needs to know. Stewart v. Demme and William Osler Health System (2020) “The central question … is whether a privacy violation can be “highly… Read more »


Patients do not understand their privacy rights – it’s our job to explain them

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It’s not enough for health care organizations to respect patient privacy rights.  I believe we have an obligation to help our patients understand those rights and activate them. There is a definite power imbalance between health care providers and patients when it comes to their understanding of privacy. Patients (and their caregivers) don’t receive a… Read more »


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 »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Health Privacy Officer training
September 22, 2020

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations - now totally online.

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...

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

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our September program is on privacy litigation and the October program will address harassment issues and scenarios.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the first Wednesday of every month (Off for the Summer - next up: September 2 and October 7)

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.

Free Part X CYFSA privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the second Wednesday of every month (next up: July 8 and August 12)

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.

Team Privacy Training Events
July 8, 23, 28 August 4, October 7, 8

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies and Children’s Aid

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

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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I was excited to hear from my friend, Keith Serry, that he had started a new podcast called The Volume Knob to tell… https://t.co/LGCczyrNTc

about 10 hours ago


Here’s a recap of Bill 188, Bill 138, and two sets of proposed amendments to PHIPA’s regulation...… https://t.co/oH9B0WEhqo

03:30 PM Aug 10th

contact details

P.O. Box 97010 Roncesvalles
Toronto Ontario M6R 3B3

(416) 855 9557

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