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


Health Privacy Update #2 – August 2017 – Precedent setting new case Decision 49

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario just released two more decisions all health care providers in Ontario should read. Decision 48: A hospital received a request for access to records. The hospital provided the complainant with a full copy of his health records but the complainant believed there should be additional records (specifically letters from… Read more »


Catalyst conversations – raising issues in a way people will listen

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The other day I was a pedestrian on the sidewalk waiting for the traffic light to turn green. Up rode a young guy on a bicycle – on the sidewalk. Honestly, I hadn’t noticed he was on the sidewalk.  But a woman next to me did. And she instantly tore into him. “How dare you… Read more »


What does a Privacy Officer do in a health care organization?

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I train Privacy Officers to understand their role. So, what does a Privacy Officer do for a health care organization? In Ontario, every health care organization must have a “contact person” to do the following five tasks: Facilitate compliance with the health privacy law, PHIPA Ensure that everyone who works for the organization is informed… Read more »



Health Privacy Update – August 2017

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario has just released two new correction request decisions – 46 and 47 (dated June 2017 but released the last week of July).  Decision 45 has not yet been released. Bottom Line: These decisions do not change your practice. So long as you respond to correction requests (as you… Read more »


Health Privacy Update – July 2017

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Mandatory reporting by health information custodians in Ontario to the IPC will now come into effect October 1, 2017 The new regulations requiring the mandatory reporting of privacy breaches to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario will come into effect October 1st (not July 1st as we originally expected). The link to the new… Read more »


Managing Every Day Complaints in Health Care

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I recently surveyed administrative and clinical team members at a family health team and discovered the top 5 issues that lead patients or families to complain where the conversation can get heated: Being told they cannot receive test results over the phone for a family member without the patient’s consent Long wait times Not being able to receive… Read more »


TedTalks your health care team can watch about privacy

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Are you a Privacy Officer for a health care organization and do you struggle to find interesting videos to keep privacy top of mind for your team? Here are fiveTedTalks that you and your team might find interesting: Why privacy matters – have you heard the phrase “If you aren’t doing anything wrong – you should… Read more »


Health Privacy Update – May 2017

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On May 3rd, the Information and Privacy Commissioner and his team was in Thunder Bay. He released a new presentation He receives between 300-350 health privacy complaints annually He talked about the new social worker prosecution He reminded the audience about the new Code of Procedures for health privacy cases with his office He also mentioned… Read more »


What’s new in health privacy – March 2017

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Trying to keep up with all that is happening in health privacy these days?  It’s busy! Here are five updates Ontario health care organizations should know: 1. IPC just notified the public about a new snooping prosecution.  A student at a family health team was fined $25,000 for a privacy breach involving 139 patients (she… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events
February 12, 19, 26, 27, Mar 2, 9, 11, 24, 27

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...

Speaking event March 25, 2020

Osgoode Professional Development – Health Law Certificate

Kate joins the faculty for this training event. More details...

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

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our March webinar is on questions to ask your insurer and the April program is on changes to pregnant employees' positions.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Health Privacy Officer training
April 28, 2020

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organisations.

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...

Osgoode Health Privacy 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!
March 4 (cancelled) but back April 1

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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