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


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 »


Democratizing health information

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That sounds lofty doesn’t it? There is an important movement afoot in health care where recipients of health care services get better, faster, and more consistent access to their own health information.  The effect is democratizing health information. When we give patients instant access to their information, they are better able to navigate their health… 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 »


3 steps to influence organizational culture in health care

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What is culture? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization. As a health leader you influence your organizational culture both intentionally and unintentionally.  The impact is happening whether you mean for it happen or not. So, how do you intentionally and… 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 »


Police! Six concepts health leaders need to know when interacting with police

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I am often asked by health leaders what to do when police arrive and need information about patients. Police officers and police departments are important community partners for health care organizations. As citizens, we all rely on the police to protect us and enforce the laws.  It is vital to the success of all health… Read more »



Nuanced privacy decision from IPC on access to deceased patient’s records

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There is a new health privacy decision 75 of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario. Bottom line for health care organizations: If a client has died, you have to be careful about the release of health records to the estate trustees under the will.  If the will appoints multiple estate trustees (executors) – you… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events
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: Managing Incapacity & Consent to Treatment

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our October webinar is about managing incapacity, and the November title is Consent to Treatment.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

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...

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...

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
October 2, November 6 and December 4

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.

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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