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)

How to respond to people behaving badly without making things worse

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I recently witnessed a dispute within my faith community. One congregant was accused of violent and highly inappropriate activity. The synagogue struggled to respond. Things escalated. People took sides. Positions became entrenched. There was a mixture of genuine concern, mythology, innuendo, hyperbole, valid issues to be addressed and unsubstantiated issues that needed to be cleared… Read more »


Don’t make these 3 mistakes when processing requests for access to health records – New IPC decision 93

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A patient wants a copy of their health record. You give them your organization’s form to fill out before you give them a copy. What are you allowed to ask on that form? If your questions are not all answered, are you allowed to  send back the access request as “incomplete”? That’s the subject of… Read more »


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 »


Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Team Privacy Training Events
February 12, 19, 26, 27, Mar 2, 9, 11, 24, 27

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...

Speaking event March 25, 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 March webinar is on questions to ask your insurer and the April program is on changes to pregnant employees' positions.
Full details of the 2020 webinar series and registration here.

Health Privacy Officer training
April 28, 2020

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organisations.

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...

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!
March 4 (cancelled) but back April 1

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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Toronto Ontario M5V 3H5

(416) 855 9557

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