I’m Kate Dewhirst.

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

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Category: Privacy


Missing Persons in Ontario – new police powers and the impact of the new law on healthcare providers

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On July 1st a new law came into effect: the Missing Persons Act, 2018. Healthcare organizations and providers need to know about this new law because there may be new documentation from police you will need to review. The police now have more powers when investigating missing persons in Ontario. Missing Person A “missing person”… Read more »


Does your organization need a “back-up” Privacy Officer?

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Yup – you do! I have heard from a lot of healthcare teams recently that they have been struggling with vacation, sick days, leaves of absence and unexpected departures from the Privacy Office.  When you rely on one person in your organization to deal with all the privacy issues, you can feel vulnerable when that… Read more »


Don’t make these 3 mistakes when processing requests for access to health records – New IPC decision 93

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A patient wants a copy of their health record. You give them your organization’s form to fill out before you give them a copy. What are you allowed to ask on that form? If your questions are not all answered, are you allowed to  send back the access request as “incomplete”? That’s the subject of… Read more »


Digital hygiene saves lives! New IPC guidelines

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In healthcare we often repeat that “hand hygiene saves lives” – well so too does digital hygiene. What is digital hygiene? Digital hygiene is a term of art used in the technology and cyber security field to describe positive practices to protect digital information from loss, theft, and unauthorized use, disclosure, modification or destruction. How… Read more »



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 »


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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