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)

5 traps you should avoid when a patient complains

Posted by

Every health care organization receives complaints. A complaint is any negative feedback received from a patient or family member of a patient about your services. Health care is a complicated service industry and no matter how great the services you deliver are or the quality of your team members, there will always be gaps in… Read more »


What do medical affairs leaders in hospitals do?

Posted by

One of my favourite activities is working with medical affairs leaders in hospitals managing complaints and concerns about physicians.  But when I tell people about that work – I get a few quizzical looks. Medical affairs? What is that? The public knows very little about the tangled web relationship between hospitals and physicians and their… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: IPC issued new guidelines for disposing of electronic information

Posted by

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released new guidelines today for disposing of electronic media. These guidelines explain what it means to take “reasonable steps” to safeguard personal health information through secure destruction. The guidelines apply to all custodians under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004.  That means you, health care providers and… Read more »


A vote for even greater transparency in health care

Posted by

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario wrote a recent blog post “Privacy is not a Barrier to Releasing Non-Identifying Statistics“. In particular, the IPC noted an example that the public wants to know how serious the flu-threat is in their community, a risk often measured by the number of local flu-related deaths.  Public members have… Read more »



3 New Decisions of the IPC – Now 67 Orders and Decisions

Posted by

There are three new decisions of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario under the health privacy legislation. That brings the total number of Orders and Decisions of the IPC to 67. You can read my summary of all 67 IPC PHIPA Decisions Bottom Line: There are no surprises here.  All three decisions upheld the decisions of the custodians. … Read more »


Wow. I wasn’t expecting that! Managing volatile situations in health care

Posted by

Health care organizations of all shapes and sizes deal with volatile situations involving patients (or clients or residents) and family members or caregivers. Remember this case from last year of the woman at a health clinic who was yelling racist comments about wanting to see a “white doctor” and getting increasingly angry that only “brown doctors with… Read more »


Tracking Privacy Breaches in 2018 – Tools and Tips

Posted by

I’ve delivered five team privacy training sessions for health care groups this month all over the province. One thing that has everyone talking is the new requirement to track privacy breaches and report the statistics to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario in 2019. Here are some tools and tips to help you better… Read more »



Health Privacy Update: 4 new health privacy decisions of the IPC released

Posted by

On Friday January 12, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released four new decisions. Here is my updated summary of all 64  IPC PHIPA Decisions Decision 61: Reasonable Search: A physician received a request for access to all records relating to the complainant’s deceased son. The complainant believed additional records should exist. The physician said… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events
December 11, January 16-17

For Primary Care clinics, Children’s Aid and FHTs

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

Speaking event February 4, 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 December webinar is an employment law update, and the January program is a legal update for EDs and Board members.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Advanced Privacy Officer training
December 10, 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...

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!
December 4 (cancelled) but back January 8

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.

Subscribe to my mailing list and keep up to date with news:

Latest Tweets

Law2Life Coaching is the best place successful lawyers can go to unlock more fun and fulfillment from life and work… https://t.co/WUshA9UCqK

about 4 hours ago

It’s not enough for health care organizations to respect patient privacy rights. I believe we have an obligation t… https://t.co/dTMI2lfrOx

about 5 hours ago

contact details

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

(416) 855 9557

.