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)

A vote for even greater transparency in health care

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 »


Start keeping track of all privacy breaches – Report due March 2019

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Just a reminder that as of January 1, 2018 if you are a health information custodian you need to start keeping track of certain information relating to privacy breaches. The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released guidelines that will come into effect March 2019 but require you to start tracking certain kinds of privacy breaches now…. Read more »


In Memoriam – My sister Beth Ferkranus

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It is with great sadness that I announce my little sister, Beth Ferkranus, passed away over the holidays.  It was sudden and completely unexpected.  We are all devastated.  You can read her Obituary here. I want to thank everyone for your kindness and the outpouring of love we have received. Some of you know that my sisters are… Read more »



Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Health Privacy Officer training
April 28, 2020

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations - now totally online.

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...

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

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our April program is on COVID-19 and the May program will address governance tips and tricks.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the first Wednesday of every month (Next up: May 6 and June 3)

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.

Team Privacy Training Events
March 31, April 17, May 6, June 17

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...

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

(416) 855 9557

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