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: Mental health facilities


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 »


In case you were wondering, don’t use your ex-business partner’s ex-wife’s health information to learn about a new IT system

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Calling all clinicians, Privacy Officers, IT change management consultants and practice managers. Here’s a new case for you to read and absorb. Bierman v. Haidash 2021 from Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench So, imagine you work in a health care environment and you’ve got to learn a new IT system. Bummer right? You’ve got to… Read more »


Annual statistical reporting – clarification for 2021

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It’s that time of year again … annual statistical reporting to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. There has been some confusion this year. Let’s break down the rules … [Prefer to watch a video: I clarify on video here] Question 1: Do we have to complete an annual statistical report?  There was some… Read more »


Right to know week – what do you need to know?

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Did you know it is “Right to Know Week“? Right to Know Week is celebrated across Canada with events discussing privacy rights. It is a gathering of Canada’s Information and Privacy Commissioners and organizations and individuals who are interested in privacy. In Canada, and Ontario for purposes of this blog, the right to know means… 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 »


New IPC guidelines for healthcare workers working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released a new access and privacy fact sheet aimed at helping organizations and their staff navigate the “new normal” called “Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic“. In her related blog post, Commissioner Kosseim emphasizes that “it is essential that corporate policies and practices related to access, privacy,… Read more »


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 »


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 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10, 17, 24 2021

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 2021

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.

Team Privacy Training Events
March 24, 25, 31 and April 6, 8, 22, 28

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies, Public Health Units, Schools, Police departments

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

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

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our April program will address how to run a meeting and in May we discuss the legal pit of doom in having your employees also as your patients.
Full details of the 2021 webinar series and registration here.

Part X CYFSA Privacy Designate Course - video course online

For Privacy Designates in the child welfare sector including children's aid societies and indigenous children's well-being centres

We focus on how to implement Part X of the Child Youth and Family Services Act in your organization.
Full details and registration here.

Osgoode Health Law Certificate

Kate is presenting at the Osgoode Health Law Certificate on March 11 on Privacy Issues

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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contact details

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

(416) 855 9557

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