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


Are paper health records dangerous?

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While we live in a highly digitized world, we still rely A LOT on paper in healthcare. As we move towards even more integrated care, the reliance on and existence of paper health records will be a challenge to overcome. From a privacy perspective, paper health records can be tricky to protect from loss, theft,… Read more »




Ontario Health Teams Wave 1: Privacy and culture shift supports during your transition

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You and your community have signed up to be a Wave 1 Ontario Health Team. Does it feel like you are on a roller coaster? You signed up. You’ve strapped yourself into the seat. You’ve turned the first corner and you hear the “kk-chug”. You start the steep, jerky climb. up. up. up. You are… Read more »


After death: who can access the records of a patient after death?

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released a new resource today for the general public called “Accessing Your Deceased Relative’s Personal Information“. The resource first addresses rights of access to records held by government. Then the IPC provides guidance to the public how to obtain health information from healthcare providers. The IPC answers the… Read more »


There is no magic age when children make their own health privacy decisions

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This comes as a surprise to most lay people. In Ontario, and in many jurisdictions around the world, children make their own health privacy decisions when they are “capable” of doing so and not when they reach a specific age. What does that mean? Capacity is presumed. Meaning, healthcare providers presume everyone is capable to… Read more »



Health Privacy Update: What is a “bad faith” request for access to health records?

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In a new health privacy decision of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, we find out what needs to be proven to show a patient is making a request for access to health records in “bad faith”. Decision 87:  Interprets “Bad Faith” Requests A patient saw a chiropodist at a foot clinic. The patient wanted a copy… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: When someone asks for a copy of a “complete health record”, what does that mean?

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In Decision 89 of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario deals with an access request, what lengths a health care organization has to go to look for records and what is a “complete health record”. In this case, the complainant asked a community care access centre (CCAC) for access to his deceased wife’s complete… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: IPC has new guidelines on avoiding abandoned health records

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario just released new guidelines “Avoiding Abandoned Health Records: Guidance for Health Information Custodians Changing Practice“. The guidelines cover: Who is the custodian when there is a change of practice? What obligations do custodians have when changing practice? Avoiding abandoned records What to do if you discover abandoned records… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events

April 15, May 3, June 7, 13, 20 & 25

For Primary Care clinics and FHTs

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

Speaking event

April 10, 2019

At Osgoode Hall

Kate speaks at the Osgoode Health Law Certificate workshop on privacy for health care organizations. More details...

Primary care webinars: Contracts & Communications

April 11 and May 2, 2019, 12 noon

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our April webinar is on employee contracts, and in May our title is communication faux pas.

Full details of the 2019 webinar series and registration here.

Privacy Officer training

April 30 through June 4, 2019

Kate’s specialist training course for Privacy Officers in health organizations.

Open to all health Privacy Officers, as well as those hoping to become Privacy Officers. Full details and registration for Privacy Officer training next spring here...

Advanced Privacy Officer training

June 18, 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!

April 3, 2019 12 noon - 1 pm and
May 1, 2019 9 - 10 am

Free webinar - 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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Webinar recording now available! Topics covered: - Health privacy law update - When do children make their own info… https://t.co/crUhW2tgRn

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901 King Street West Suite 400 East Tower
Toronto Ontario M5V 3H5

(416) 855 9557

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