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)

Digital hygiene saves lives! New IPC guidelines

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In healthcare we often repeat that “hand hygiene saves lives” – well so too does digital hygiene. What is digital hygiene? Digital hygiene is a term of art used in the technology and cyber security field to describe positive practices to protect digital information from loss, theft, and unauthorized use, disclosure, modification or destruction. How… Read more »



Are paper health records dangerous?

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While we live in a highly digitized world, we still rely A LOT on paper in healthcare. As we move towards even more integrated care, the reliance on and existence of paper health records will be a challenge to overcome. From a privacy perspective, paper health records can be tricky to protect from loss, theft,… 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 »


Ontario Health Teams Wave 1: Privacy and culture shift supports during your transition

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You and your community have signed up to be a Wave 1 Ontario Health Team. Does it feel like you are on a roller coaster? You signed up. You’ve strapped yourself into the seat. You’ve turned the first corner and you hear the “kk-chug”. You start the steep, jerky climb. up. up. up. You are… Read more »


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 »



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.

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contact details

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

(416) 855 9557

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