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)

Cyber Risk Management – What’s a Privacy Officer to Do?

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Have you seen this tool from HIROC – the Health Insurance Reciprocal of Canada? Cyber-Guide If you are a Privacy Officer in healthcare – you should read this tool.  It’s great. It’s brand new – November 2017. You may have a vague understanding of words like “ransomware” and “phishing” and “social engineering“.  And maybe you… Read more »


What bothers patients? Why do they complain? What we can learn from the Patient Ombudsman’s First Annual Report in Ontario

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The Patient Ombudsman just released her first report: Patient Ombudsman Annual_Report_Final_EN A year of patient and caregiver conversations and complaints by the numbers: Almost 2000 complaints 1431 complaints received by phone 553 written complaints Complaints were made by: 37% patients 29% substitute decision-makers 23% caregivers 6% family members 5% other Some complaints were rerouted to other… Read more »


New guidelines from IPC require Ontario’s healthcare organizations to start tracking privacy breaches in January 2018

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario released new guidelines that will come into effect March 2019 but require healthcare organizations to start tracking certain kinds of privacy breaches as of January 2018. Click here for the Annual Reporting of Privacy Breach Statistics to the Commissioner guidelines. Starting January 1st, Ontario’s healthcare organizations (all those who… Read more »





Health Privacy Update #3 – October 2017 – WOW! 6 new decisions of the IPC released last week

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Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner just released six new health privacy decisions at the end of last week. Want to know what they are about? You can read my updated summaries of all 56 of the IPC PHIPA Decisions. Or keep reading this blog for summaries of these six. The decisions are not listed in chronological… Read more »


What you say matters: Mission, vision and values

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What commitments have you made to your patients, team members and the public? When I work with a healthcare organization through a difficult situation (like a patient complaint or a privacy breach) I always look at their mission, vision and values.  These public statements should guide all decision making through difficult times.  These statements are your guide… Read more »


Health Privacy Update #2 – October 2017 – 2 new decisions of the IPC

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Last week the IPC issued two new decisions for health care organizations in Ontario. The first one has practical impact on group practices like family health teams. Group practices should proactively clarify who is the health information custodian  Decision 50 – This one will interest all family health teams and other group practices. It relates to… Read more »


Are you having fun yet?

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In February 2016, I was asked to do an exercise: What do you do for fun? I remember that day vividly because for the first time in my life I was stumped about fun. Upon reflection – I came up with a few things.  Playing with the kids (who were then 3 years old and… Read more »


Some of Kate’s Upcoming events

Where immigration and health law issues collide

April 25, 2018

Presentation to invited Community Health Centre clients

In collaboration with immigration lawyer Jacqueline Swaisland.

2018 Privacy Officer Training

May 8 to June 12, 2018

16 hours live and online training

for Privacy Officers and Privacy Officers-to-be. Live sessions held in Toronto. Course is now full, but here are details and booking for Kate's October course.

De-escalation training

May 16, 2018

Training session for a Toronto Family Health Team

In conjunction with leadership coach Christine Burych.

Team Privacy Training Events

May 17, June 13

For Primary Care clinics and FHTs

Kate trains health professionals from another two primary care organizations how being privacy-respectful can improve therapeutic relationships. more details...

Ask me anything (about health privacy)

12 noon, May 23, 2018

An hour webinar with Kate where you can ask Kate any privacy-related questions you have.

Open to all health Privacy Officers. Register here.

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