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)

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 »


There is no magic age when children make their own health privacy decisions

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This comes as a surprise to most lay people. In Ontario, and in many jurisdictions around the world, children make their own health privacy decisions when they are “capable” of doing so and not when they reach a specific age. What does that mean? Capacity is presumed. Meaning, healthcare providers presume everyone is capable to… Read more »




IPC is traveling to Waterloo – May 31

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The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario just announced they will be in Waterloo on May 31. If you are a health care organization or a child welfare entity (who will become subject to privacy rules in January 2020) it is always a good idea to attend these kinds of sessions –… Read more »




Health Privacy Update: What is a “bad faith” request for access to health records?

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In a new health privacy decision of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, we find out what needs to be proven to show a patient is making a request for access to health records in “bad faith”. Decision 87:  Interprets “Bad Faith” Requests A patient saw a chiropodist at a foot clinic. The patient wanted a copy… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: When someone asks for a copy of a “complete health record”, what does that mean?

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In Decision 89 of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario deals with an access request, what lengths a health care organization has to go to look for records and what is a “complete health record”. In this case, the complainant asked a community care access centre (CCAC) for access to his deceased wife’s complete… Read more »


Health Privacy Update: IPC has new guidelines on avoiding abandoned health records

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario just released new guidelines “Avoiding Abandoned Health Records: Guidance for Health Information Custodians Changing Practice“. The guidelines cover: Who is the custodian when there is a change of practice? What obligations do custodians have when changing practice? Avoiding abandoned records What to do if you discover abandoned records… Read more »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events
October 16, October 24 and November 21

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 October 23, 2019

Osgoode Professional Development – Mental health Certificate

Kate joins the faculty for this training event. More details...

Primary care webinars: Managing Incapacity & Consent to Treatment

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our October webinar is about managing incapacity, and the November title is Consent to Treatment.
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...

Privacy Officer 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!
October 2, November 6 and December 4

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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Latest Tweets

The main message: A doctor (or any other health information custodian) should never ignore a patient’s access reque… https://t.co/HW8mrFymnC

about 23 hours ago

What happens when someone asks for access to recordings? It depends. Here’s a story about what might happen.… https://t.co/kRnDh5IOo2

12:01 PM Oct 12th

When you have an early warning system you don't hold all those reports until the end of the year. You look for proa… https://t.co/mz22nGp89F

12:01 PM Oct 11th

contact details

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

(416) 855 9557

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