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: Privacy


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 »


Disclosure of COVID-19 Status Information by Labs and Medical Officers of Health to Police, Firefighters, and Paramedics

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The Ontario government has passed an emergency order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act allowing the disclosure of COVID-19 status information by laboratories and medical officers of health to specified people including police officers, firefighters, and paramedics. The government’s press release states that the purpose of the Order is to protect first responders,… Read more »





Trust Builders: Profiles of Health Privacy Officers – Simeon Kanev, Alliance for Healthier Communities

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We are the trust builders.  Privacy Officers assist their organizations to earn the trust of their clients, patients, residents, consumers and their caregivers.  These are their stories. Simeon Kanev, Alliance for Healthier Communities   Alliance for Healthier Communities is an association of community-governed primary health care organizations. Alliance members serve diverse communities across Ontario, and they… 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 »


IPC Decision 101 – How to deal with a patient’s request for access to records about another patient’s complaint

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First of all – it’s time to celebrate. There have been now more than 100 decisions of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario on health privacy.  That’s a celebratory day in my office.  (Note: the IPC did not publish Decision 100 today – so I’ve got to celebrate Decision 101 instead!) Okay – back… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Health Privacy Officer training
April 28, 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 April program is on COVID-19 and the May program will address governance tips and tricks.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the first Wednesday of every month (Next up: May 6 and June 3)

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
March 31, April 17, May 6, June 17

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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