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


Lateral kindness and what healthcare organizations can learn from Indigenous communities (Guest Blogger: Steven Stechley)

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By Steven Stechley, McGill Global Health Scholar You know what kindness is… but what is lateral kindness? Lateral kindness is a term originating from the west coast that refers to non-hierarchical kindness within Indigenous communities. It is a concept that draws on Indigenous values which promote and celebrate positive things that take place within the… Read more »


Yikes! Want to know what a ransomware attack sounds like in healthcare?

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According to a CBC report published yesterday, a home medical services company was recently hacked and tens of thousands of health records for home care patients across Ontario were held for ransom. The home care company issued a public statement in June 2018 confirming that it had been the victim of a cyber attack. A group… 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 »



Health Privacy Update: New IPC Decision shows you may have to give access to your communications with HIROC

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Calling all Health Privacy Officers. You need to read the just  released PHIPA Decision 73 from the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. Bottom Line: This decision has an impact on all health care organizations in Ontario.  Communications with your insurer, such as HIROC, may be accessible through PHIPA access requests. This is not your run… Read more »


It is May 25th. What is the GDPR and should you care if you are a health sector organization in Ontario?

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Disclaimer: I’m not a GDPR expert by any stretch of the imagination.   GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation – it came into force today – May 25, 2018. It provides new protections for citizens of the European Union.  Here is a great website with videos and text to explain it. You may be wondering… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: New Health Privacy Decision 72 – Correction Request

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IPC just released Decision 72 It’s another correction request. The IPC decided not to review the complaint. The medical clinic did not have to make the correction. A medical clinic received a correction request asking that a specific reference prepared by a physician be removed. The author physician had died. The clinic refused the request…. Read more »



Hmmmm. If your head tilts when you read a new email – don’t open it!

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Ransomware and phishing attacks are rampant in health care. Ever get an email from a bank you don’t use saying your account has been compromised? Ever get a message from a company with whom you do business saying “Click on this link to update your profile”? But you think to yourself, hmmmm, that’s weird, I… Read more »


Ever wonder what patient information you are supposed to share with insurance companies?

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One of the top 5 questions I get asked when I do privacy training in primary care offices is: What patient information am I supposed to share with an insurance company? It’s an every day reality that health care organizations receive release of information forms to send insurance companies information about patients.  The queries can… 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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