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)

What’s new in health privacy – March 2017

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Trying to keep up with all that is happening in health privacy these days?  It’s busy! Here are five updates Ontario health care organizations should know: 1. IPC just notified the public about a new snooping prosecution.  A student at a family health team was fined $25,000 for a privacy breach involving 139 patients (she… Read more »



What are the 3 legal questions every clinician should know how to answer?

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If you are a practicing clinician (nurse, doctor, dentist, midwife, psychologist, OT, PT, social worker etc.) there are three legal questions you should be able to answer: What laws apply to you? Who makes treatment and information decisions for your patients? What are your patients’ privacy rights? I recently spoke at the Hamilton Health Sciences “Ethics… Read more »


What do hospital boards need to know about Professional Staff credentialing?

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As you may know, the Auditor General released a report criticizing the Public Hospitals Act Professional Staff appointment appeals process for being time-consuming and costly. Here is an excerpt from that report. Auditor General Report 2016 Excerpt Your hospital board may be interested to hear what it’s all about and their 18 responsibilities and the 9 tools… Read more »


What does a FHT Board member need to know about risk and statutory compliance?

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Hello?  Are you still there? This is not the most exciting topic in the universe – I know. But, it is really important. Risks There are 6 types of risk you need to be monitoring as Board members of a family health team: Clinical Financial Human Strategic Legal/Regulatory Technological Your Executive Director or Administrator needs… Read more »


Would you choose to be a lawyer?

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I was recently at an event with a “mixed group” – a mix of lawyers and non-lawyers. As we were introducing ourselves, a few of the lawyers seemed to distance themselves from law and didn’t want to be identified as a “lawyer”.  I was surprised (and a bit saddened) at how many of the lawyers… Read more »


Managing difficult employees – 6 minute video

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Maria McDonald of McDonald Human Resources Law and I just did a webinar on “Managing difficult employees and how to terminate employment with compassion” for a group of family health teams. Watch this 6-minute video to learn some tips from Maria when dealing with performance management. Interested in joining our Legal Issues for Family Health Teams… Read more »


What is new in health privacy in Ontario?

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In 2016 we saw changes to health privacy legislation in Ontario.  There were significant developments in health privacy litigation and additional certifications of class actions for health privacy breaches.  There were at least two physicians in Ontario who had their licenses to practice suspended for snooping in health records and at least two nurses faced… Read more »


January is the time for your annual “Privacy Reminder”

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Happy new year! If you are a health care Privacy Officer, January is a great time to remind your organization about privacy. By sending out an annual privacy email or privacy update in a newsletter – you keep privacy top of mind for your teams and you have something tangible to show your organization’s commitment… Read more »


Legal issues for family health teams

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Are you an executive director or lead physician in a family health team?  If so, I am relaunching my monthly webinar series on Legal Issues for Family Health Teams.  Practical information on the topics you need to know about as a healthcare leader. Details here.  


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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