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: Risk


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 »




How to respond to people behaving badly without making things worse

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I recently witnessed a dispute within my faith community. One congregant was accused of violent and highly inappropriate activity. The synagogue struggled to respond. Things escalated. People took sides. Positions became entrenched. There was a mixture of genuine concern, mythology, innuendo, hyperbole, valid issues to be addressed and unsubstantiated issues that needed to be cleared… Read more »


What are the 4 elements that make a healthcare team trustworthy?

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Trust. Trust is the foundation of healthcare. Without trust, patients delay receiving care. Without trust, patients do not share the truth that helps clinicians uncover what is actually happening. Where trust is compromised, patients, their families and caregivers feel vulnerable and unsafe. They go elsewhere or nowhere to seek help. I’ve been studying “trust” in… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: Be very careful when speaking with the media about patients

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We know this intuitively – but it bears repeating. Health care organizations should be very careful when speaking with the media about specific patient cases. There is a new Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) health privacy decision directly on this topic. Decision 82 Background: A patient of a hospital died. The family members… Read more »


How should Ontario’s healthcare organizations prepare for new legislation?

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We have a new government in Ontario after 15 years of the same party in power.  You know what that means? Change. Hold on to your seats folks – we are going to see legislative changes in healthcare in Ontario. Any time of change can be tough.  But a time of change is upon us… Read more »



Health Law Collisions: Immigration Law

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  Health law is a discipline that focuses on the legal issues in health care, on representing the interests of recipients of health services or health care providers or the health sector and its businesses and goods and service providers, or government and its policy makers. What I love about health law is that the… Read more »


Police! Six concepts health leaders need to know when interacting with police

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I am often asked by health leaders what to do when police arrive and need information about patients. Police officers and police departments are important community partners for health care organizations. As citizens, we all rely on the police to protect us and enforce the laws.  It is vital to the success of all health… 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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Toronto Ontario M5V 3H5

(416) 855 9557

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