I’m Kate Dewhirst.

My team and I write about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada.

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Category: Privacy




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 »


Update: No cameras allowed inside health examination rooms

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) just released a new blog titled: “Cameras in Doctors’ Exam Rooms? Not in Ontario” and released Decision 98. In this decision, a media outlet notified the IPC that a cosmetic surgery clinic was using surveillance cameras in examination rooms. The clinic had 24 security cameras recording continuously… Read more »


Is an access-only parent entitled to their children’s health information?

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In a new Decision 96 of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC), a father who had access-only (not custody) of his children wanted a certain information from a health care provider. The health care provider refused to confirm or deny they had information about the children. The father complained to the IPC. The… Read more »


Health Privacy Officers, you need to see the Privacy Commissioner’s new Process

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Hey Health Privacy Officers in Ontario – you need to know this! The Information and Privacy Commissioner just released new guidelines on its internal procedures for health privacy:  The Code of Procedure for Matters under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.  It was updated August 2019. Why does this matter to you as a… 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 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 25 2022 Coming Soon: Fall 2022 Next Program

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 2022

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.

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

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our May program will address progressive discipline and in June we discuss the key responsibilities Boards need to know in primary care.
Full details of the 2022 webinar series and registration here.

Team Privacy Training Events
May 2, 9, 26, 27

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies, Mental Health Teams, Public Health Units, School Boards, Police departments

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

Ontario Hospital Association Professional Staff Credentialing Toolkit

2nd Edition is now available for managing physicians, dentists, midwives and nurse practitioners in hospitals Read here...

Free summary of all PHIPA IPC decisions

Want to read privacy breach stories to learn how to improve your work? We have summarized all the Information and Privacy Commissioner's health privacy decisions for you Download here...

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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